Attorney General William Barr attempted to block U.S. prosecution of a Turkish bank last year after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked Donald Trump for help in the matter, according to a new CNN report that supports earlier accounts.
Barr personally attempted to head off prosecution of Halkbank in a suspected multibillion-dollar scheme to evade sanctions against Iran, CNN reported, citing “a person familiar with the discussions.” He reportedly tried to steer a settlement that would have allowed the bank to dodge an indictment shortly after Erdogan pressed Trump for help last spring.
Barr ultimately failed to stop an indictment, however. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of the Southern District of New York insisted on criminal prosecution, CNN reported.
Barr faces increasing criticism for appearing to do Trump’s bidding to manipulate Justice Department cases to punish the president’s enemies or help his allies. In this situation, Barr’s reported efforts seemed aimed at attempting to satisfy the request of an authoritarian foreign leader.
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