NY attorney general hires top corruption watchdog to challenge Trump

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 21, 2017

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump, hired anti-corruption attorney Howard Master, a prosecutor who's worked closely with former Manhattan District Attorney Preet Bharara, to target the Trump administration.

In addition, Eric Haren, chief counsel to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the New York Daily News reported.

In a memo to his staff on Monday, Schneiderman said he had hired former federal prosecutor Howard Master as senior enforcement counsel.

Last week another letter to the attorney general asked him to investigate Trump Organization dealings in Azerbaijan that "may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" and US sanctions against Iran.

He successfully prosecuted Sheldon Silver, a former speaker of the NY state assembly, for fraud, extortion and money laundering in 2015.

Bharara, who was abruptly ousted by the Trump administration about two weeks earlier, in spite of expectations that he'd stay on, quickly congratulated his colleague Monday morning, calling him an "absolute superstar".

The White House did not immediately respond to the Journal's request for comment.

Schneiderman, a frequent Trump critic, has repeatedly said his office will sue the administration if necessary to protect New Yorkers' and the state's interests.

"As a general matter, it is not sustainable for him to refuse to divest from all of these vast holdings and refuse to disclose what those holdings are", the attorney general said.

"The Trump administration's continued intent to discriminate against Muslims is clear and it undermines New York's families, institutions and economy", Mr Schneiderman said at the time.

In addition, he has been probing Trump's charitable foundation, which came under increased scrutiny following reports by The Washington Post of possible improprieties.

The source added that Schneiderman's office will also look into whether Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution that liberal groups say prohibits Trump-owned businesses from accepting foreign government payments. Trump settled that suit and others for a combined $25million shortly after his election in November.

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