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Ronan Farrow: Cuomo Called Up Valerie Jarrett, Complaining New York’s U.S. Attorney Was ‘Out of Control’

Then-White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett in 2014. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

I guess now that New York governor Andrew Cuomo looks doomed, it is safe for every Democrat who’s worked with him to start telling their accounts to Ronan Farrow.

In April, 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo placed a call to the White House and reached Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama. Cuomo was, as one official put it, “ranting and raving.” He had announced that he was shuttering the Moreland Commission, a group that he had convened less than a year earlier to root out corruption in New York politics. After Cuomo ended the group’s inquiries, Preet Bharara, then the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, issued letters instructing commissioners to preserve documents and had investigators from his office interview key witnesses. On the phone with Jarrett, Cuomo railed against Bharara. “This guy’s out of control,” a member of the White House legal team briefed on the call that day recalled Cuomo telling Jarrett. “He’s your guy.”

Jarrett ended the conversation after only a few minutes. Any effort by the White House to influence investigations by a federal prosecutor could constitute criminal obstruction of justice. “He did, in fact, call me and raise concerns about the commission,” Jarrett told me. “As soon as he started talking, and I figured out what he was talking about, I shut down the conversation.”

According to Farrow’s article, Jarrett was concerned that Cuomo was attempting to influence or interfere with a federal prosecutor, and went to the White House counsel’s office. Lawyers in that office concurred and referred the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ . . .  informed Bharara, and then nothing else happened. Heck of a job, Eric Holder!

Farrow also finds that Cuomo interfered with the Moreland Commission’s investigation into corruption.

The commission began with a sweeping mandate from Cuomo to probe systemic corruption in political campaigns and state government. However, interviews with a dozen former officials with ties to the commission, along with hundreds of pages of internal documents, text messages, and personal notes obtained by The New Yorker, reveal that Cuomo and his team used increasingly heavy-handed tactics to limit inquiries that might implicate him or his allies. “He did not want an investigation into his own dark-money contributions,” Perry recalled. . . .

Both Perry and Rice said that they had not spoken out until now because Cuomo or members of his inner circle had threatened their careers, and because they had seen his team successfully retaliate against others. “I saw them destroy people,” Perry said. “And I did really fear that it could be me.”

If Andrew Cuomo had been a Republican, and had called up the Obama White House “ranting and raving” and demanding the White House do something about a U.S. attorney who was investigating him, would the Department of Justice have just shrugged and done nothing more than notify the U.S. attorney? Do you think that, just maybe, Eric Holder and his team would have been a little more interested in opening up an investigation and pressing charges for obstruction of justice?

How many free passes did Andrew Cuomo get from powerful people because he was in the right party?


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