Former Dept. of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich says “nothing” should stop the DOJ from investigating Donald Trump, not even the department’s unwritten “60-day rule” about not intentionally influencing the outcomes of elections.
Bromwich’s resumé reads like a walk through late 20th century political history. As a federal prosecutor at the vaunted U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), which was once headed by Robert Morgenthau, Jim Comey, Preet Bharara, and even the now-disgraced Rudy Giuliani, Bromwich prosecuted Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver L. North.
As Inspector General at DOJ, Bromwich investigated the FBI’s investigation into the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, and the Bureau’s investigation into former Central Intelligence Agency counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames, convicted in 1994 of espionage for spying for the USSR and Russia. He’s also represented former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and served as the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management under President Barack Obama.
“Nothing–not even the unwritten rule– should stop DOJ from following up on the scores of investigative leads generated by the Mar-A-Lago search,” Bromwich writes, “including interviews of the people seen moving the doc[uments]. That’s not ‘overt’ unless Trump or his employees choose to make it so.”
Bromwich was responding to a tweet from The New York Times that reads: “As the midterms near, Justice Department officials are weighing whether to temporarily scale back work in criminal investigations involving Donald Trump because of an unwritten rule forbidding overt actions that could improperly influence the vote.”
That tweet points to a Times’ article that says, “As the midterm elections near, top Justice Department officials are weighing whether to temporarily scale back work in criminal investigations involving former President Donald J. Trump because of an unwritten rule forbidding overt actions that could improperly influence the vote.”
“Under what is known as the 60-day rule,” the Times adds, “the department has traditionally avoided taking any steps in the run-up to an election that could affect how people vote, out of caution that such moves could be interpreted as abusing its power to manipulate American democracy.”
Then-FBI Director Jim Comey infamously violated that rule when he announced in a letter to Congress barely weeks before the 2016 presidential election that he was re-opening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. That move “probably” threw the race to Donald Trump, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver.
Bromwich is not the only attorney speaking out in reference to the Times piece.
Civil rights lawyer and former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) Sherrilyn Ifill writes: “Trump is not on the ballot, and won’t be for two years. He has not even declared his candidacy. It can’t be the ‘rule’ that a DOJ investigation or indictment ‘might’ affect or influence a vote in *any* election. Otherwise they could never act. Come. On.”