Here's the DOJ ‘firewall’ that might have prevented AG Barr from knowing Steve Bannon was facing criminal indictment: legal expert

Here's the DOJ ‘firewall’ that might have prevented AG Barr from knowing Steve Bannon was facing criminal indictment: legal expert
PBS NewsHour

On Thursday, August 20, Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss announced that former Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon had been indicted in the Southern District of New York for allegedly defrauding donors in a crowdfunding campaign for a U.S./Mexico border wall. And when legal analyst Glenn Kirschner discussed Bannon’s arrest during an appearance on MSNBC, he speculated that officials in the U.S. Department of Justice might have put up a “firewall” that would have prevented Attorney General William Barr from knowing about the case.

MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle asked Kirschner, “Would Bill Barr’s office have been aware that this happened?” — to which Kirschner responded, “It depends on how covert the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York wanted to be. Because sometimes, Stephanie, when we’re getting ready to indict somebody or unseal an indictment, we want to hold our cards very close to our chest.”

Kirschner added that federal prosecutors can be guarded with information about indictments when they fear that someone might try to flee from prosecution or that evidence might be destroyed.

Two months ago, Barr fired Southern District prosecutor Geoffrey Berman — who agreed to step down if he was assured that Strauss would be hired in an acting capacity.

“Firewalls,” Kirschner told Ruhle, are not uncommon in the U.S. Department of Justice.

“With Bill Barr, Steph, anything goes because we know he is serving as the president’s defender — not so much as the voice of the people, which is what an attorney general is supposed to be,” Kirschner argued.

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