Bharara: Trump telling DOJ who to investigate ‘terrible thing for rule of law’

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Sunday it’s “terrible for the rule of law” when President Trump urges the Justice Department to investigate or not to investigate specific people.

"He’s crossed the line a number of times,” Bharara told ABC’s “This Week.”

“It is a terrible thing for a president in this country to tell his Justice Department who to investigate, who to prosecute and who to keep their hands off of," he said.


Trump on Friday urged the Justice Department to investigate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders thanks Iowa voters for giving momentum to progressive agenda Manchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia Arizona newspaper backs Democrat in dead heat Senate race MORE and her Democratic allies.

He was responding to disclosures from former Democratic National Committee (DNC) interim chairwoman Donna Brazile about an agreement between Clinton’s presidential campaign, the DNC, and Clinton’s joint fundraising committee that said the campaign would “control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised.” 

The explosive revelations from Brazile renewed criticisms from supporters of Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders thanks Iowa voters for giving momentum to progressive agenda Live coverage: Gillum clashes with DeSantis in Florida debate Miami Herald endorses Gillum for governor MORE (I-Vt.) and caused Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBig Dem donors stick to sidelines as 2020 approaches DNA is irrelevant — Elizabeth Warren is simply not Cherokee The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump seizes on immigrant 'caravan' for midterms | WHCA criticizes Trump for praising lawmaker who assaulted reporter | Trump takes harder line on Saudis MORE (D-Mass.) to say she thinks the Democratic presidential primary process was fixed in Clinton’s favor.

“Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.,” Trump also wrote on Twitter last week, using a derogatory nickname he often employs to refer to Warren.

Bharara said in the Sunday interview that there is also evidence that Trump has urged law enforcement officials to “back off” other investigations. 

“And we have evidence of that too, on the flip side of the coin,” Bharara continued.

“We have evidence that he told Jim Comey to back off on Mike Flynn and that he asked Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBeto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE potentially to back off on Joe Arpaio, and both of those things I think are terrible for the rule of law in this country," he said.

Bharara was referring to former FBI Director James Comey, who testified that Trump asked him to “let go” of an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The other reference was to a report that said Trump inquired of Attorney General Jeff Sessions about closing a case against Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. Trump went on to pardon Arpaio.