While President Donald Trump was busy patting himself on the back for a so-called ceasefire in Syria that he hailed as a “great day for civilization,” two members of Trump’s cabinet found themselves in the middle of a scandal involving a Turkish bank that began with a direct order from Trump.
“President Trump referred Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s repeated requests for the U.S. to avoid pressing charges on one of the country’s largest banks to Attorney General William Barr and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Bloomberg reports. Trump reportedly told Erdogan in an April call that Barr and Mnuchin would handle the issue, and no charges were pressed against Turkish bank Halkbank until recently.”
The Southern District of New York held off charging Halkbank until Wednesday, when, in a fit of anger, Trump announced sanctions against Turkey for their continued military incursion into areas of Syria that were just abandoned by U.S. troops.
Here’s how Barr and Mnuchin used their positions and departments in order to shield the Turkish bank from any serious consequences:
- Barr: The attorney general served as a sort of legal adviser to Halkbank, advising “Turkey on its best option: a deferred prosecution agreement that would require Halkbank to pay a fine and other actions to prevent further wrongdoing.” In other words, Barr helped the Turks skirt the law and make sure they got little more than a slap on the hand.
- Mnuchin: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was involved because his department determines “the regulatory penalties against Halkbank for a separate criminal case involving one of their executives.”
Halkbank was treated with kid gloves because Erdogan asked Trump for a favor. And since Erdogan had already made it possible for Trump to build Trump Towers Istanbul, Trump was only too happy to comply with Erdogan’s request. The quid pro quo could not possibly be any clearer.
There can no longer be any doubt that the entire Trump administration is corrupt and engaged in a host of crimes. Not only does Trump need to be impeached, but his crooked appointees should also be removed from office and prosecuted for their crimes.