Hillary needs to reaffirm her faith in Preet Bharara



Look, let’s face facts; the presidential choice will probably come down to Hillary versus Donald. The problem for Hillary is that there are a lot of people who don’t like or get her and the Donald’s predicament is that many people consider him somewhere between a jerk and a clown.

However, despite Donald’s trespasses and his unpopularity, Hillary continues to make major mistakes. Who, knowing that they would be running for president as a Democrat, would start taking money from fat cat corporations, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in so-called “speaking fees?”  After the mud hit the fan and people wanted to know why she took the money, she was reported to have said, “We needed the money.” To put it mildly, no one liked that answer too much, especially as she was running against Bernie Sanders, who actually lives on his salary. Also, the statement had a real credibility problem and showed a lack of good judgment. Many of us are so dedicated to living within the rules that we just don’t understand it when we see people who are often caught testing those very rules.

But the one that really got me was a recent interview with Hillary in which she was asked whether she would reappoint Preet Bharara as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District. Bharara is my personal hero. He has done more to clean up the cesspool of Albany politics than anyone else in modern times. He deserved better than Hillary’s answer which, believe it or not, was that it was too early to make such decisions, although she did allow that he had done a good job.

As someone in the teenage world might say, “Excuse me?!” Was she kidding, or caught flat footed suggesting that maybe she was an insider in a game which said the awesome Bharara should be stopped? On the other hand, despite all her background, maybe she just doesn’t know the rules. Either way, it is scary.

We know, for example, that the Clintons and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have been close, what with Bill appointing Cuomo to his cabinet as Housing and Urban Renewal Secretary.  Is Hillary carrying the compromised Andrew’s political water? I would hate to think that Bharara makes the Clintons nervous. Obviously, based on his record, he should be at the very top of Hillary’s list for Attorney General of the United States. Knowing what we know about the Clintons, it is unlikely that they would appoint a guy who truly believes that the law is the law. No, they are much more likely to pick someone who knows the limitations of that high judicial office and more importantly, how to play the game. The game is played a lot like chess — “Always protect your Queen.”

Of course, there was naiveté on the part of the questioner. Having taught political science for a long, long time I can tell you that it is, or should be, common knowledge that while the president formally appoints the U.S. attorneys, she does not really do that. Nope, the way that it works in practice is that the United States senator of the same party as the appointing president gets to make the call. We call it a “recommendation” but make no mistake about it, that’s the way it works. Assuming that Hillary gets to be president, the senior senator making that appointment will be Chuck Schumer who, if the Democrats take the Senate, will be the senate majority leader. Unless she is really stupid, Hillary is not going to get in Chuck’s face. Let’s also remember that Preet Bharara served Chuck as a top counsel and clearly he was recommended for his job by Schumer in the first place.

So considering what Hillary is reported to have said about it being too early to consider these matters, she ought to get on the record FAST, and reaffirm her faith in Bharara.