- REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Preet Bharara, former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, called House Speaker Paul Ryan’s defense of President Donald Trump on Thursday, “silly,” and offered a counterpoint to illustrate the lack of merit in Ryan’s argument.
During Comey’s hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, Ryan held a press conference where he attributed Trump’s apparent attempts to persuade Comey to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn – thereby compromising the independence of the FBI – to his inexperience in politics.
“Of course there needs to be a degree of independence between [the Department of Justice], FBI, and the White House, but a line of communication needs to be established,” said Ryan. “The president is new at this, he’s new to government, so he’s not steeped in the long-running protocols that’s established between DOJ, FBI, and White Houses. He’s just new to this.”
Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump in March after refusing to resign, responded to Ryan’s remarks in a social-media posting Thursday night: “Silly. DJT knew protocol well enough to attack, rally after campaign rally, the breach of “protocol” in Clinton’s tarmac meeting with Lynch.”
Bharara was referring to the occasion in which former president Bill Clinton met with then-attorney general Loretta Lynch on a tarmac in Arizona last summer, an event that drew outrage amongst Republicans – including then-presidential candidate Donald Trump – due to the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Trump said he was “flabbergasted” by the meeting at the time, and routinely brought it up during campaign events.
“It’s a very serious thing,” Trump said, at the Western Conservative Summit in 2016. “To have a thing like that happen is so sad.”
“If you think that he just happened to be at the airport … he was talking about golf and grandchildren … but if I talk about them for more than about 9 or 10 seconds … after that, what are you going to say?”