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Trump’s DOJ pushed for legal action against John Kerry, says ex-US attorney

Former President Trump’s Justice Department pushed for a criminal investigation of former Secretary of State John Kerry, an ex-U.S. attorney revealed in a new book, according to The New York Times.

The push for an investigation of Kerry was one of several instances in which Trump’s Justice Department pressured the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan to take action against the then-president’s critics, according to Geoffrey Berman, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Berman was fired by Trump in June 2020.

In May 2018, the Justice Department told Berman’s office it would be investigating Kerry’s Iran-related conduct, Berman details in his new book “Holding the Line,” out Tuesday, according to the Times.

The request came days after Trump publicly attacked Kerry on Twitter over the Iran nuclear deal, which he helped negotiate as head of the State Department in the Obama administration, Berman said. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the accords around the same time.

“The conduct that had annoyed the president was now a priority of the Department of Justice,” Berman wrote, according to the Times.

After Berman’s office declined to prosecute Kerry, the request was sent to another U.S. attorney’s office, in Maryland, which also declined to prosecute, Berman said in his book, according to the Times.

In another case of what he described as a “clear” and “outrageous” pattern, Berman said the Justice Department referred a case against Gregory Craig, former White House counsel for the Obama administration, to his office. 

Berman claims he was asked to charge Craig prior to the midterm elections in order to “even things out,” according to the Times. The case was similarly shuffled around to another U.S. attorney’s office after Berman declined to prosecute.

Trump’s Justice Department also sought to block cases against the former president’s allies, including his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, Berman noted in his book, according to the Times.

The Hill has reached out to a Trump spokesperson for comment.

Tags Donald Trump Geoffrey Berman iran nuclear deal John Kerry John Kerry Justice Department Michael Cohen Trump

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