As of just a few hours ago, the public is now being told that the DoJ's top person responsible for
allowing our country's most egregious pillagers to walk away, scot-free failing to prosecute Wall Street's senior-most exec's during our country's record-breaking Recession, Lanny Breuer, soon will no longer be employed by our government. (See "Update #2," near the bottom of this post.)
Apparently, the WaPo broke this story, about four hours ago, here: “Lanny Breuer, Justice Department criminal division chief, is stepping down.”
For a taste as to why this is a damn good reason for progressive Dems to celebrate, here are links to posts from Kossacks joanneleon and taonow, HERE and HERE, respectively, from just earlier today and both concerning Breuer’s hubris-filled Frontline appearance, before his resignation story broke, mid-afternoon!
And, last but not least, here’s Naked Capitalism Publisher Yves Smith, from about an hour ago…
For Once, Maybe Lying Does Not Pay: DoJ’s Lanny Breuer Resignation Leaked After Frontline AppearanceThere’s much more to Yves’ post, and I strongly recommend that you check it out, in its entirety (link is up above).
January 23, 2013 6:57PM
I am delighted to be proven to be wrong on the premise of the last post, which is that lying pays and it has become so routine that an op-ed writer for a liberal newspaper can point that out without being concerned about the broader ramifications. But this is almost certain to fall into “the exception that proves the rule” category.
Lanny Breuer, former Covington & Burling partner and more recently head of the criminal division at the Department of Justice, had his resignation leaked today. The proximate cause is a Frontline show that ran two nights ago, part of a series on the financial crisis. The segment in which Breuer speaks is below and of course on the PBS website (the last of four segments)…
…Breuer has been criticized for his lack of interest in prosecuting banks and more important, bank executives for their conduct during the crisis (and before you argue that such cases are difficult to make, please read Charles Ferguson’s Predator Nation, which selects specific banks and shows how, simply based on public information, a clear and compelling case exists, or look at some of our posts, for instance, here). He also was the DoJ co-chairman on the do-virtually-nothing residential mortgage task force formed as a way to suborn Eric Schneiderman, who was leading a group of state attorney generals that were on their way to putting in place tougher sanctions in the banks…
Now, THIS is change I can believe in!
Links to Breuer’s Frontline appearance are available, above, as well as within Yves’ post over at Naked Capitalism.
(I’ll return with an update to this over the next couple of hours; but, in the meantime, bon appétit!)
# # #
UPDATE #2 (12:15AM Eastern Time, 1/24/13):
The WaPo noted on November 20th that Breuer might leave by the END of 2012. But as Bloomberg editor Kieran Beer††† just noted in a tweet with colleague Amy Resnick, the WaPo and Bloomberg are running a story that Breuer “is stepping down.” When? Well that’s not being publicly stated yet. However, it would appear to be at some point other than when the WaPo speculated roughly/just nine weeks ago. (Gotta' love that spin!)
†††=Disclosure: Kerry Beer is a personal friend. I’ve known him for almost 40 years.
# # #
UPDATE #1 (11:00PM Eastern Time, 1/23/13):
Interestingly, as noted in the comments, below, nary a peep from the MSM on this story! (Obviously, there's a lot of damage control going on behind the scenes on this one.) It'll certainly be interesting to see/read the spin.
Here's a link from late this (Wednesday) morning, to a story over at the NY Times' Dealbook blog--a Peter Eavis interview with Frontline producer Martin Smith. Quite interesting! "Q. & A. on Wall Street’s Untouchables."
And, then there's this from masaccio over at FDL, less than an hour after the WaPo story broke:
Breuer Identifies Real Clients on Frontline then QuitsFollowed by Marcy Wheeler, 45 minutes after masaccio's post...
By: masaccio Wednesday January 23, 2013 4:03 pm
Lanny Breuer is out as head of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, according to the Washington Post. After his ratlike performance on Frontline (transcript here) it won’t be long before we find him at some creepy New York or DC law firm defending his best friends, the banks and their sleazy employees. His legacy is simple: too big to fail banks can’t possibly commit crimes, so minor civil fines and false promises of reform are punishment enough. Jamie Dimon couldn’t have put it better.
Breuer tried his best to dodge questions about why he violated his promise to Senator Kaufman that he was actually conducting an investigation of Wall Street fraud. Martin Smith, the interviewer, asks:We spoke to a couple of sources from within the fraud section of the Criminal Division, and through mid-2010 they reported that when it came to Wall Street, there were no investigations going on; there were no subpoenas, no document reviews, no wiretaps.Breuer responds: “we looked very hard at the types of matters that you’re talking about.” He doesn’t deny that there were no investigations; no subpoenas, no document reviews, no wiretaps. Instead, he tries to shift the subject to his pointless insider trading cases, his Ponzi cases, the Lee Farkas case (the mortgage firm Taylor, Whitaker and Bean), and a few hapless mortgage originator cases, and even a policeman defrauded by some fraud or other. Smith won’t let that pass. Eventually we get to the heart of the problem...
...Breuer keeps talking, but he can’t worm out of this one...
Day after Frontline Exposure, Lanny Breuer Resignation ReportedOf course, more folks will issue press releases and "behind-the-scenes" spin, and the narrative will go wherever the status quo wishes it. But, the pertinent fact here is Breuer's resignation was sudden. And, it's rather self-evident why it occurred, regardless of any spin that may arise to the contrary.
Posted on January 23, 2013 by emptywheel
Last night, Frontline had a good show exposing how derelict DOJ has been in not prosecuting any of the banksters who ruined the economy. It could have been far, far worse, as it dealt solely with the securitization crimes that were ignored. Nevertheless, it showed Lanny Breuer to be an arrogant jerk who insisted DOJ couldn’t prosecute, in spite of the abundant evidence of crime presented in the show.
Nevertheless, DOJ spent part of the day threatening Frontline to never cooperate again...
And, judging from (just) a few (not too many) of the comments, below, a little cognitive dissonance is setting in...