A report by Michael Goodwin at the NY Post on Saturday claims Rod Rosenstein moved the Cohen case to New York and then forced Trump-appointed U.S. attorney Goeffrey Berman to recuse himself. That was prior to the raid on Michael Cohen’s residences and office.
Berman’s recusal left Preet Bharara’s holdover staff in charge of the Cohen case, Goodwin wrote. Bharara is a sworn enemy of the President’s, especially since the President fired him.
There was a conflicting report earlier this year. In April, ABC News reported the Berman recusal was approved by senior Justice Department officials who report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the sources said. Rosenstein himself was notified of the recusal after the decision was made, ABC News said.
Which report is true?
On Saturday, New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin wrote: “The US attorney Trump appointed for that outpost, Geoffrey Berman, reportedly was ordered to recuse himself by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, leaving the office staffed mostly by holdovers from Preet Bharara’s tenure.” The recusal left the office staffed mostly by holdovers from former prosecutor.
Goodwin added, “Meanwhile, his former colleagues made the politically charged demand that [Michael] Cohen accuse the president of criminal behavior in his own plea documents, illustrating how Cohen is a pawn and Trump is the real target.”
Goodwin also noted that with Lanny Davis, “a decades-long friend, lawyer and fixer to Bill and Hillary Clinton… serving as Cohen’s lawyer, the Clinton machine is effectively directing much of the assault on the president.”
Rosenstein turning the Cohen case over to New York assured the Mueller investigation would continue even if Mueller is fired.
Bloomberg reported further that Rosenstein made the decision to give the Cohen case to SDNY following a referral from Mueller. That also ensured the investigation could continue even if Trump somehow managed to fire the special counsel. That would be a politically dangerous move that many Republicans have warned the president to avoid.