MetroFocus: November 10, 2021

IN CONVERSATION WITH PREET BHARARA

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, joins us tonight! He handled some of the highest profile cases and went after the corrupt on Wall Street and in Washington, until he was forced out by President Trump in 2017. Today, the former prosecutor is driving the conversation on power and justice as a distinguished scholar in residence at NYU Law, and as host of the podcast, “Stay Tuned with Preet.” On November 22nd, he’ll be taking part in a free, public program at the Cooper Union in Manhattan where he’ll discuss how today’s state of affairs, including the groping case of former Governor Cuomo, is putting our democracy in danger. Tonight, he gives us a preview of that conversation as well as his perspective on the major legal headlines impacting New York.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

PREET BHARARA, THE FORMER U.S.

ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK IS JOINING US TONIGHT.

NOW, HE'S HANDLED SOME OF THE HIGHEST PROFILE CASES AND WENT AFTER CORRUPTION ON WALL STREET AND IN WASHINGTON UNTIL HE WAS FORCED OUT BY PRESIDENT TRUMP IN 2017.

TODAY, THE FORMER PROSECUTOR IS DRIVING THE CONVERSATION ON POWER AND JUSTICE AS A DISTINGUISHED SCHOLAR IN RESIDENT AT NYU LAW AND AS HOST OF THE PODCAST 'STAY TUNED WITH PREET.'

ON NOVEMBER 18th, HE'LL BE TAKING PART IN A FREE PUBLIC PROGRAM AT COOPER UNION IN MANHATTAN, WHERE HE'LL DISCUSS HOW TODAY'S STATE OF AFFAIRS, INCLUDING THE GROPING CASE OF FORMER GOVERNOR CUOMO, IS PUTTING OUR DEMOCRACY IN DANGER.

TONIGHT, HE GIVES US A PREVIEW OF THAT CONVERSATION, AS WELL AS HIS PERSPECTIVE ON THE MAJOR LEGAL HEADLINES IMPACTING NEW YORK.

AND SO, WITH THAT, I'D LIKE TO WELCOME PREET BHARARA TO 'METROFOCUS.'

GOOD TO BE HERE.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

ABSOLUTELY.

FIRST OFF, LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS EVENT THAT'S GOING TO BE TAKING PLACE AT COOPER UNION, BECAUSE YOU'RE GOING TO BE INTERVIEWING SOMEBODY, A NAME THAT PERHAPS ISN'T LOCAL BUT HAS BECOME VERY FAMILIAR TO A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW POLITICS.

YEAH, I'LL BE INTERVIEWING ADAM SCHIFF, MEMBER OF CONGRESS, CHAIRMAN OF THE INTEL COMMITTEE, A KEY VOICE AND OVERSEER OF THE FIRST IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP AND THE AUTHOR OF A NEW BOOK CALLED 'MIDNIGHT IN WASHINGTON: HOW WE ALMOST LOST OUR DEMOCRACY AND STILL COULD.'

THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE THERE BEING, AND STILL COULD.

I HAVEN'T DIVE INTO THE BOOK AS MUCH AS I WANT JUST YET, BUT SHOULD BE A GREAT CONVERSATION ABOUT THE PERILS FACING OUR DEMOCRACY, HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE GOT AND HOW WE CAN GET TO A BETTER PLACE.

OF COURSE.

AND SPEAKING OF CONGRESSMAN SCHIFF, IT SHOULD ALSO BE NOTED THAT HE IS ALSO ON THE JANUARY 6th COMMISSION, WHICH, I'M SURE, IS GOING TO PLAY A BIG PART IN HIS CONVERSATION IN HOW OUR DEMOCRACY COULD BE LOST.

INDEED IT WILL.

AND I THINK WE MIGHT TALK ABOUT SOME OF THAT TODAY, AS WELL, IF YOU ARE INTERESTED.

OH, WE'RE ALWAYS INTERESTED, ABSOLUTELY.

THERE ARE REVELATIONS EVERY DAY.

THERE ARE FIGHTS OVER SUBPOENAS EVERY DAY.

JUST THIS LAST MONDAY, ANOTHER SIX SUBPOENAS ISSUED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THAT COMMITTEE.

THEY'RE FIGHTING IT, THEY'RE GOING TO COURT.

SOME WITNESSES ARE COMING FORWARD.

AND THERE DOESN'T SEEM TO BE A LOT OF RHYME OR REASON AS TO WHO IS TAKING WHAT POSITION.

ALL WE KNOW IS MR. TRUMP AND HIS TEAM ARE PRETTY ADAMANT ABOUT NO ONE TESTIFYING AND NO DOCUMENTS BEING RELEASED FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES BECAUSE THEY MIGHT SHOW SOMETHING THAT HE DOESN'T WANT PEOPLE TO SEE.

ALL RIGHT, SO, THEN SPEAKING OF THE SUBPOENAS, BECAUSE FOR A LOT OF LAY PEOPLE, INCLUDING MYSELF, IT SEEMS AS IF CONGRESS SUBPOENAS YOU TO COME BEFORE THEM, THAT'S SOMETHING YOU TAKE VERY SERIOUSLY AND YET, AS YOU MENTIONED, SOME PEOPLE ARE EFFECTIVELY JUST BLOWING IT OFF.

BUT WE'RE ALSO HEARING THAT THERE MIGHT NOT BE THE KIND OF CONSEQUENCES THAT A LOT OF US PERHAPS THOUGHT WOULD BE ATTACHED TO JUST BLOWING OFF CONGRESS.

SO, IT'S VERY CONFUSING.

AND LEGITIMATELY SO FOR LAY FOLKS.

WHEN PEOPLE HEAR THE WORD SUBPOENA, GENERALLY SPEAKING, THEY THINK ABOUT THE KINDS THAT WERE ISSUED FROM THE GRAND JURY WHEN I WAS A U.S. ATTORNEY OR WHEN SOMEONE IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY.

ANY PROSECUTORIAL EXECUTIVE BRANCH AGENCY HAS THE ABILITY TO ISSUE SUBPOENAS THAT FORMALLY COME FROM A GRAND JURY AND THERE ARE DIRE CONSEQUENCES FOR RESISTING SUBPOENAS OR JUST IGNORING THEM.

A JUDGE CAN ORDER YOU IN C CONTEMPT.

YOU CAN BE ARRESTED.

AND YOU CAN SERVE IN PRISON UNTIL YOU COME AND TESTIFY AND HONOR THE SUBPOENA, WHICH IS A TOOL THAT WE USE TO USE INVESTIGATIONS, TO HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE, GET TO THE TRUTH.

A SUBPOENA ISSUED BY CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE, THOUGH IT HAS THE SAME NAME, DOESN'T REALLY HAVE THE SAME FORCE FOR AMONG OTHER REASONS, YOU KNOW, CONGRESS DOESN'T HAVE A SORT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY.

THERE'S NO CORRESPONDING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL, I GUESS YOU HAVE THE SERGEANT-AT-ARMS, BUT YOU DON'T HAVE A PROCEDURE WHERE IF YOU HOLD SOMEONE IN CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS, TO GO AHEAD AND ARREST THEM AND HAVE A PROCEDURE FOR DUE PROCESS.

MANY YEARS AGO, THEY DID IT FROM TIME TO TIME, BUT THEY REALLY DON'T HAVE IT NOW.

THE PROCEDURE THEY FOLLOW AND IT'S PENDING WITH ONE POTENTIAL WITNESS, STEVE BANNON, IS THEY VOTE IN COMMITTEE, WHICH HAPPENED AND THEN VOTE AS AN ENTIRE BODY, WHICH ALSO HAPPENED, TO MAKE A REFERRAL OF CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS ON THE PART OF STEVE BANNON TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND THEN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CAN CHOOSE TO BRING UNDER A PARTICULAR FEDERAL STATUTE AN INDICTMENT FOR CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS AND THEN THEY CAN -- THEY CAN USE THE LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES THEY HAVE TO INDICT, PROSECUTE, CONVICT, IF THAT HAPPENS AND SEND STEVE BANNON TO JAIL FOR UP TO A YEAR.

OKAY, BUT UP TO A YEAR IN JAIL WITH -- AGAIN, ALL OF THESE LEGAL BENCHMARKS THAT HAVE TO BE MET, DOES SEEM -- IT DOESN'T SEEM AS, I GUESS AS YOU WOULD SAY, AS INTIMIDATING OR THREATENING AS A LOT OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC MIGHT THINK IT IS.

IT SEEMS SORT OF SURPRISING THAT YOU CAN JUST KIND OF BLOW IT OFF.

IT IS SURPRISING.

I'LL GIVE YOU ONE EXPLANATION, SORT OF STRUCTURAL EXPLANATION FOR WHY IT'S A LITTLE BIT UNDERSTANDABLE, THOUGH I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU THAT I THINK CONGRESS NEEDS TO CONTEMPLATE COMING UP WITH A MODERN ENFORCEMENT MECHANISM.

WHEN AN EXECUTIVE BRANCH DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, FOR EXAMPLE, ISSUES A SUBPOENA TO A CIVILIAN IN A CRIMINAL CASE, THAT HAS A CERTAIN FORCE.

AND THE ARGUMENT IS BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE.

HERE, WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A SUBPOENA ISSUED BY A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE AGAINST SOMEONE WHO IS OR WAS IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, WHAT YOU REALLY HAVE IS A FIGHT BETWEEN TWO COEQUAL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT.

AND THE COURTS -- THE COURTS OVER TIME HAVE HELD, YOU KNOW, WHEREVER POSSIBLE, THEY DON'T WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN A DISPUTE BETWEEN THE OTHER TWO COEQUAL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT.

SO, USUALLY IT'S THE CASE THAT THERE'S SOME PROCESS OF ACCOMMODATION IN NEGOTIATION WHERE SUBPOENAS ARE ISSUED BY A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE, I SERVED IN THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FOR A FEW YEARS BEFORE I WAS U.S. ATTORNEY.

IN THOSE CASES, THERE'S POLITICAL PRESSURE BROUGHT TO BEAR.

SO, THE RECIPIENTS DON'T WANT TO LOOK LIKE THEY ARE OBSTRUCTING OR DEFYING CONGRESS BUT THEY MAY NOT WANT TO GIVE AS MUCH AS CONGRESS IS SEEKING SO THERE'S A NEGOTIATION WHEREBY PARAMETERS ARE SET, GUIDELINES ARE SET, SOME TESTIFY IS GIVEN, SOME DOCUMENTS ARE GIVEN, NOT ALL OF THEM ARE GECH AND THE COURTS ARE HAPPY BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE TO ADJUDICATE IT.

IT'S NOT LIKE A SUBPOENA THAT A PROSECUTOR -- THAT A PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE SUBMITS OR ISSUES IN CONNECTION WITH A CRIME, BUT A SUBPOENA BY A COEQUAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT TO SOMEONE ELSE IN ANOTHER BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT, IF THAT MAKES ANY SENSE.

NO, IT MAKES A LITTLE BIT MORE SENSE AND I THINK FOR -- THOSE OF US WHO ARE NOT IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION, IT SEEMED VERY BIZARRE THAT THAT COULD HAPPEN.

BUT WITHOUT GETTING TOO DEEP INTO THAT ONE ISSUE, IS THAT THE TYPE, THE TONE AND TENOR, I GUESS, OF THE KIND OF CONVERSATION YOU'RE EXPECTING TO HAVE CONGRESSMAN SCHIFF, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, WOULD THAT, PERHAPS, INCLUDE THE QUESTION OF, DOES CONGRESS NEED TO, PERHAPS, EITHER GIVE HARSHER -- CREATE HARSHER PENALTIES FOR IGNORING THEM OR CODIFY THINGS THAT SEEM TO BE ACCEPTED BEHAVIOR AND HARDEN THEM INTO LAW.

YOU SHOULD JOIN ME ON STAGE.

THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

SOME VERSION I WILL PUT TO CONGRESSMAN SCHIFF.

PART OF THE REASON PEOPLE ARE SO UPSET ABOUT IT IS IT DOESN'T COME UP THAT MUCH, RIGHT?

USUALLY IT'S THE CASE, AS I MENTIONED, HISTORICALLY, THERE'S A BACK AND FORTD BETWEEN CONGRESS AND BETWEEN A CURRENT OR FORMER MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND SOME ACCOMMODATION IS REACHED.

JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS ON THE SUPREME COURT HAS WRITTEN ABOUT THIS IN CONNECTION WITH ANOTHER DISPUTE OVER DOCUMENTS THAT ARE BEING SOLVED BY CONGRESS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP.

WE GENERALLY DON'T GET INVOLVED HERE, IN PART BECAUSE THE PARTIES ARE REASONABLE.

AND IF THERE'S A REASONABLE REQUEST FOR INFORMATION, THERE'S A REASONABLE RESPONSE TO THAT REQUEST FOR INFORMATION, SO, WHAT YOU HAVE HERE IS -- IT'S HAPPENED BEFORE, BUT IT'S JUST VERY RARE, WHERE YOU HAVE A SCORCHED EARTH RESPONSE ON THE PART OF FTHE FORMER PRESIDENT AD HIS TEAM TO LEGITIMATE QUESTIONS THAT ARE BEING ASKED BY CONGRESS.

AND WHAT COULD BE MORE LEGITIMATE THAN A SPECIAL COMMITTEE DESIGNED TO FIGURE OUT HOW VIOLENCE WAS VISITED UPON THAT VERY BODY?

CONGRESS ITSELF WAS INVADED, CONGRESS ITSELF WAS ATTACKED.

AND IF YOU CAN'T HAVE WIDE-RANGING ACT ABILITY TO GET INFORMATION FROM THIRD PARTIES AND PEOPLE WHO WERE PARTICIPANTS IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO JANUARY 6th AND THE PLANNING OF THE RALLY THAT DEVOLVED INTO VIOLENCE, THEN WHAT IS LEGITIMATE?

AND THE REASON PEOPLE, I THINK, ARE RIGHTLY CONCERNED ABOUT IT IS, IT MAKES NO SENSE FROM A LOGICAL STANDPOINT THAT THE LAW IS SOMETIMES FUNNY THAT WAY.

OF COURSE, OF COURSE.

I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE'VE ALL BEEN SORT OF TRYING TO GRAPPLE WITH, WHAT IS THE LAW, WHAT IS POLITICAL NORMS AND WHERE DOES THE LINE EXIST BETWEEN THE TWO, BUT AGAIN, I'M SURE THOSE ARE TOPICS THAT WILL COME UP WITH CONGRESSMAN SCHIFF.

YES, NO, ABSOLUTELY.

AND I THINK IT IS ALSO WORTH I THINK DISCUSSING WITH HIM, YOU KNOW, HOW WE GOT HERE.

THERE WAS LOTS OF DISCUSSION BEFORE THE ELECTION OF 2020 ABOUT LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR WHAT WOULD ULTIMATELY BE CALLED, WHAT MANY CALL THE BIG LIE AND I'M CURIOUS TO KNOW IF HE THINKS THERE IS SOME ORIGIN IN THIS WITH RESPECT TO THE COLLECTION OF ACTIVITIES THAT LED TO THE FIRST IMPEACHMENT OF FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP.

THE WHOLE AFFAIR WITH RESPECT TO UKRAINE, WHERE PRESIDENT TRUMP ESSENTIALLY TRIED TO COERCE THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE IN ANNOUNCING, NOT EVEN ACTUALLY HAVING AN INVESTIGATION, BUT ANNOUNCING AN INVESTIGATION OF JOE BIDEN AND HIS SON HUNTER THAT THE FACT THAT HE WAS ABLE TO GET AWAY WITH THAT, I'M WONDERING WHAT HE THINKS ABOUT THIS AND WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THIS, THE FACT HE WAS ABLE TO GET AWAY WITH THAT, THE FACT HE WAS ABLE TO GET AWAY WITH HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THE INSURRECTION OF JANUARY 6th, IS THAT WHY WE'RE AT THIS POINT WHERE A HUGE SWATH OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC JUST DOESN'T BELIEVE THE ELECTION WENT TO JOE BIDEN?

AND SO, IT'S NOT ONLY THE CONVERSATION ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST, BUT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE.

WHAT IS 2022 GOING TO LOOK LIKE?

WHAT IS 2024 GOING TO LOOK LIKE?

HOW ARE PEOPLE GOING TO HIJACK ELECTIONS IN THE FUTURE?

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF VOTING RIGHTS IN AMERICA?

I HOPE A LOT OF PEOPLE TURN UP TO THE CONVERSATION.

IT IS A CONVERSATION WORTH SHOWING UP FOR.

BUT I WANT TO SORT OF PIVOT TO, BECAUSE AS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE LEGAL PROBLEMS OF SOMEONE IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, I'D BE REMISS IF I DIDN'T BRING UP, AS I DID IN THE INTRO, FORMER GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO.

THERE IS ALREADY THINGS GOING ON WITH -- AS I UNDERSTAND, THE POSSIBLE EVIDENCE THAT MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST ABOUT GOVERNOR CUOMO.

SO CAN YOU, AT LEAST, BREAK DOWN FROM YOUR UNDERSTANDING WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ALBANY WITH THESE SOON TO BE -- WE DON'T KNOW -- CHARGES AGAINST THE FORMER GOVERNOR.

I SHOULD SAY AT THE OUTSET THAT THE REPORT THAT WAS COMPILED BY TISH JAMES' OFFICE AND REFERRED TO, ONE OF THE TWO PEOPLE WHO CONDUCTED THE INVESTIGATION IS JUNE KIM, WHO WAS A DEPUTY U.S. ATTORNEY UNDER MEN, A FRIEND OF MINE FOR A LONG TIME, I WANT TO PUT THAT ON THE RECORD.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THIS BUSINESS OF CHARGES IN ALBANY.

I DON'T HAVE ANY INSIDE KNOWLEDGE, I'M NOT CONNECTED TO THE CASE IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM BUT WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, FOR THE FOLKS WHO HAVEN'T BEEN FOLLOWING IT CLOSELY, THE SHERIFF IN ALBANY COUNTY FILED SOMETHING THAT PURPORTS TO BE A CHARGE INVOLVING AN ALLEGATION THAT THE FORMER GOVERNOR, YOU KNOW, PHYSICALLY TOUCHED SOMEONE IN A SEXUAL MANNER AND THAT'S A CRIME.

THE PROBLEM IS, AND THE CONFUSION ARISES FROM THE FACT THAT THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN ALBANY, DAVID SORIS, SAYS HE WASN'T CON ADULTED ON IT, AND THE VICTIM IN THE CASE AND HER LAWYERS SAY SHE WASN'T CONSULTED ON IT.

THERE WAS SOME SPECULATION THAT MAYBE THAT DOCUMENT WAS FILED BY THE SHERIFF IN ERROR OR PREMATURELY -- IT HAS NOT BEEN WITHDRAWN.

I'M NOT AN EXPERT ON STATE PRACTICE, I WITAS A FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, BUT IT IS VERY STRANGE FOR A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, A POLICE DEPARTMENT OR A SHERIFF OR ANYONE ELSE, TO PROCEED WITH A LEGAL DOCUMENT THAT PURPORTS TO CHARGE AN INDIVIDUAL WITH A CRIME WITHOUT DOING IT IN COORDINATION WITH AND IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE D.A.

I MEAN, THE D.A. ULTIMATELY -- THE SHERIFF IS NOT GOING TO GO IN AND REPRESENT THE PEOPLE AND GIVE AN OPENING STATEMENT IN A CRIMINAL TRIAL, IT'S GOING TO BE SOMEONE FROM THE D.A.'S OFFICE.

SO, I DON'T KNOW QUITE WHAT'S GOING ON THERE.

I'M GOING TO GIVE AN UNSATISFACTORY ANSWER, BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW.

NO, THAT DOES SEEM TO FIT, THAT SEEMS TO BE WHAT EVERYBODY IS SAYING, IS THAT IT'S VERY UNCLEAR WHAT'S GOING ON, THIS DEPUTY SHERIFF MADE A MOVE THAT LEFT EVERYONE ELSE IN THE DARK AND THAT'S NOT HOW THESE THINGS USUALLY HAPPEN.

YEAH.

AND THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY HAS SAID, YOU KNOW, HE'S STILL REVIEWING THE SNATURE OF THE CHARGES, HE HAS SOME CONCERNS AS THE PROPRIETY OF THE CHARGE.

I THINK IT COULD BE WITHDRAWN, DISMISSED, MAYBE THEY COULD PROCEED ON IT, BUT IT'S REALLY NOT -- I'M SAYING THIS AS SOMEONE FROM THE OUTSIDE AND JUST AS A PERSON WHO, YOU KNOW, USED TO OVERSEE CRIMINAL CASES OF EVERY VARIETY, IT'S NOT AN AUSPICIOUS BEGINNING TO ANY KIND OF PROSECUTION OF SOMEBODY WHO MAY OR MAY NOT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE, ULTIMATELY.

WELL THEN, DEPENDING ON WHAT HAPPENS AND, OF COURSE, CONSIDERING YOU'RE NOT A STATE ATTORNEY, YOU'RE NOT, OBVIOUSLY, INVOLVED WITH THIS CASE, AND THERE'S A LOT YOU DON'T KNOW AND READING IN THE PAPER ALONG WITH THE REST OF US, BUT I AM WONDERING, JUST TO GET, PERHAPS, YOUR READ ON THE POLITICAL WINDS OF THIS.

IS THIS SOMETHING WHERE SHOULD CHARGES GET DROPPED, DO YOU SEE THIS AS THE KIND OF STAIN THAT MIGHT RUIN A POLITICAL CAREER OR IS THIS SOMETHING THAT PERHAPS FORMER GOVERNOR CUOMO COULD COME BACK FROM AND BE YET ANOTHER DEMOCRAT IN THE PRIMARY IN 2022?

SO, I TRY TO STAY AWAY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE FROM POLITICAL PUNDIT RY AND REMAIN IN MY LANE AS A PROSECUTOR, THOUGH THOSE THINGS DO OVERLAP.

THAT'S FOR THE PEOPLE TO DECIDE.

YOU AND I ARE TALKING ABOUT ONE ASPECT OF THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST FORM EER GOVERNOR CUOMO THIS ONE PARTICULAR INCIDENT AND ALLEGATION THAT THE ALBANY SHERIFF HAS BROUGHT TO LIGHT.

BUT THERE WAS A WHOLE REPORT THAT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF THAT HAD A LOT OF OTHER ALLEGATIONS IN IT, WHICH MAY NOT RISE TO THE LEVEL OF CRIMINAL CONDUCT OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OR CHARGES, BUT THE VOTERS CAN CONTEMPLATE AND DECIDE IF THEY'RE FAIR OR NOT FAIR, IF THEY'RE DEMONSTRATED OR NOT DEMONSTRATED AND MAKE A DECISION ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT IF HE DECIDES TO RUN FOR OFFICE OR NOT, WHETHER HE'S FIT.

AND PEOPLE CAN HAVE DIFFERENT OPINIONS OF THAT.

OF COURSE, OF COURSE.

AND THAT WILL BE A QUESTION THAT WILL BE FACING VOTERS, WHETHER OR NOT AN INDIVIDUAL IS FIT FOR OFFICE, SEVERAL TIMES OVER, THIS WILL NOT BE THE LAST TIME WE ADDRESS THAT QUESTION.

I WANT TO KIND OF TURN TO YOUR VICTORY AS A FEDERAL PROSECUTOR.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PEOPLE MIGHT KNOW YOU FOR IS THE WAY YOU, WELL, YOU PROSECUTED A LOT OF CORRUPTION ON WALL STREET AND I'M WONDERING IF THERE'S ANY PARTICULAR CASE OR SOMETHING THAT REALLY JUST STILL STICKS OUT WITH YOU AS SOMETHING THAT YOU'RE STILL REALLY PROUD OF AND ACTUALLY DID MAKE A DIFFERENCE, CONSIDERING MOST AMERICANS FIND WALL STREET ALMOST AS BEWILDERING AS THE LEGAL PROFESSION.

YOU KNOW, WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME IF THERE'S A PARTICULAR CASE, WHETHER IT'S IN, YOU KNOW, ALL THE WORK THAT I DID OR OVERSAW, OR IN A PARTICULAR AREA LIKE WALL STREET, I DON'T LIKE TO PICK AND CHOOSE AMONG THEM.

OKAY.

I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT WE DID WAS, YOU KNOW, TRY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO BE A COP ON THE BEAT WITH RESPECT TO THE HUGE NUMBER OF INSIDER TRADING CASES WE BROUGHT.

I THINK IT HAD BEEN A CULTURE, THERE HAD BEEN A CULTURE ON WALL STREET IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT TRADING FIRMS OF IMPUNITY.

AND THAT PEOPLE THOUGHT -- NO ONE'S REALLY PROSECUTING THESE THINGS, WE CAN TRADE MATERIAL NONPUBLIC INFORMATION AT WILL AND DO WHATEVER WE WANT.

AND NO ONE'S PROSECUTING US.

AND I THINK THAT UNDERMINES PEOPLE'S FAITH IN THE MARKETS AND IN THE MARKETS AT THAT TIME.

TO THE EXTENT PEOPLE CHANGED THEIR PRACTICES AND CARED MORE ABOUT THE ETHICS OF THE PEOPLE THEY WERE HIRING AT VARIOUS FIRMS -- THERE'S SOME EVIDENCE OF THAT.

THAT WAS VERY IMPORTANT AND EFFECTIVE.

I'LL GIVE YOU ANOTHER EXAMPLE.

IT'S NOT QUITE WALL STREET, BUT IT'S CORPORATE AMERICA.

THERE WERE TWO SIGNIFICANT CASES WE BROUGHT, ONE AGAINST GM AND ONE AGAINST TOYOTA, IN CONNECTION WITH SAFETY FAILURES AND FAILURES OF BEING TRUTHFUL ABOUT SAFETY FAILURES, WHERE PEOPLE DIED IN CAR ACCIDENTS BECAUSE OF DESIGN AND OTHER DEFECTS IN BOTH TOYOTA CARS AND GM CARS AND IN BOTH CASES, WE GOT THEM TO REFORM HOW THEY, YOU KNOW, DEALT WITH SAFETY, MADE REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT SAFETY AND ALSO COLLECTED OVER A BILLION DOLLARS IN FINES FROM THEM.

AND IF YOU TALK TO ANY ANALYST OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, THOSE CASES, YOU KNOW, IT OFTEN DOESN'T TURN OUT THIS WAY.

THOSE CASES, THOUGH THEY CAN NEVER BRING ANYONE BACK OR MAKE AN INDIVIDUAL HWHOLE, CHANGED TE WAY SAFETY WAS APPROACHED BY A LOT OF AUTOMAKERS IN THE COUNTRY.

SO, I'M PRETTY PROUD OF THAT, TOO.

BUT SOMETHING THAT YOU DID SAY, REALLY, THAT KIND OF STICKS WITH ME AND BRINGS ME BACK TO OUR EARLIER CONVERSATION ABOUT THE JANUARY 6th COMMISSION, ET CETERA, THAT IS THAT WHEN THERE'S ACTIONS WHERE PEOPLE FEEL AS IF THERE'S NO ONE WATCHING OR NO ONE'S GOING TO -- I'M NOT GOING TO GET CAUGHT AND IF I DO GET CAUGHT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?

HOW DANGEROUS DO YOU SEE THAT IN A DEMOCRACY WHERE THERE'S A PREVAILING SENSE THAT, YOU KNOW, I'M NOT GOING TO GO TO JAIL IF I GET CAUGHT?

I THINK IT'S THE MOST DANGEROUS THING THAT WE HAVE HAPPENING AT THE MOMENT.

YOU PUT YOUR FINGER RIGHT ON IT.

AND I THINK IT'S A REASON WHY YOU HAVE PEOPLE LIKE ADAM SCHIFF WHO IS THE CHAIR OF A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT COMMITTEE IN OUR CONGRESS.

YOU HAVE COMMENTATORS, YOU HAVE MEMBERS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

YOU HAVE THE VERY, VERY CONSERVATIVE LIZ CHENEY, WHO USED TO BE THE NUMBER THREE PERSON IN HER CAUCUS, ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE IN THE HOUSE, TALKING ABOUT THIS ISSUE OF DEMOCRACY, OF ADAM KIN ZINGER.

YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO THEIR WHOLE LIVES VOTED FOR AND SUPPORTED AS CONSERVATIVES REPUBLICANS WHO HAVE TURNED THEIR EYES AND HEARTS AND MINDS AWAY FROM THAT PARTY AND AWAY FROM DONALD TRUMP, BECAUSE OF THE CONCERN ABOUT DEMOCRACY.

AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, IT SHOULD BE THE CASE THAT IN A -- YOU KNOW, AN INTERESTING, THRIVING, SPIRITED DEMOCRACY, THAT PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW ABOUT TRADE OR EDUCATION OR TAXES OR TARIFFS OR ABOUT ALL SORTS OF THINGS, BUT IF WE SHOULD HAVE PEACEFUL TRANSFERS OF POWER BASED ON ELECTIONS THAT HAVE INTEGRITY, THAT SHOULD GO BEYOND QUESTION.

AND ONE OF THE REASONS WHY I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT IS -- AND PEOPLE DON'T FOCUS ON THIS -- EVERYONE ALWAYS THINKS IT'S ALL ABOUT TRUMP, IT'S ALL ABOUT TRUMP AND IT'S A LITTLE BIT ABOUT TRUMP, BUT THE REASON YOU CAN'T HAVE THIS STAND AND THE REASON WE CAN'T BE AT THIS VERY PRECARIOUS CROSSROADS FOR TOO LONG, THERE'S NOTHING TO SAY THAT THE NEXT PERSON THAT TRIES THIS WILL BE A DEMOCRAT.

THERE'S NOTHING REPUBLICAN ABOUT -- PEOPLE DON'T LIKE TO HEAR THIS, BUT YOU CAN HAVE A POPULIST WITH AUTHORITARIAN TENDENCIES WHO WANTS TO STEAL AN ELECTION OR LIE TO THE PUBLIC AS A DEMOCRAT, AS A SOCIALIST, AS A REPUBLICAN, AS SOMEBODY FROM ANY POINT OF VIEW ON THE IDEOLOGICAL SPECTRUM.

SO, IF DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS DON'T STAND TOGETHER AND FIGURE OUT WAYS TO HOLD FOLKS ACCOUNTABLE FOR TRYING TO HIJACK OR DEMOCRACY AND HURT OUR DEMOCRACY, THEN WE'VE GOT A LOT OF TROUBLE.

THIS ACCOUNTABILITY QUESTION IS CENTRAL AND WE'LL SEE IF IT HAPPENS.

OF COURSE.

AND AGAIN, SOMETHING THAT WE'D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT ADAM SCHIFF HAS TO SAY ABOUT THAT.

BUT I ALSO DO WONDER HOW MUCH -- BECAUSE YOU MENTIONED, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE HAVING FAITH IN DEMOCRACY AND PARTICIPATING IN DEMOCRACY, WHEN THE BELIEF ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF DEMOCRACY CHANGES TO THE POINT WHERE PEOPLE DO NOT BELIEVE, THEY BELIEVE IN SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY, IS THAT REALLY SOMETHING THAT THE LEGAL FIELD IS EVEN EQUIPPED TO ADDRESS?

IN CERTAIN INSTANCES, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A BELIEF SYSTEM THAT IS THE ANANTITHESIS, PERHA, OF WHAT WE'VE ALL AGREED TO PRACTICE, WHICH IS THE SYSTEM OF DEMOCRACY.

ONCE AGAIN, YOU PUT YOUR FINGER RIGHT ON IT.

I'VE BEEN A LAWYER FOR A LONG TIME AND I MAKE THE POINT IN A BOOK I WROTE AND IN OTHER PLACES THAT THE LAW IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO EVERYTHING, RIGHT?

YOU KNOW, WE DESEGREGATED SCHOOLS, WE PASSED CIVIL RIGHTS LEGISLATION, WE PASSED SAME SEX MARRIAGE LEGISLATION, THAT DOESN'T DO AWAY WITH MISSOMETHINGNY OR RACISM OR HOMOPHOBIA OR ANYTHING ELSE.

THE LAW CAN HELP.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A GOOD LAW TO HAVE SAME-DAY REGISTRATION AND MOTOR VOTER, THOSE ARE ALL IMPORTANT, BUT IF YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO THWART DEMOCRACY, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET DEMOCRACY.

YOU TALK ABOUT THIS ISSUE OF PEOPLE AND WHAT THEY BELIEVE, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE, RIGHT NOW, STANDING IN A FIELD SOMEWHERE, QANON FOLKS WHO BELIEVE JOHN F. KENNEDY JR. IS GOING TO BE RESURRECTED ON A PARTICULAR DATE THAT HAS PASSED AND THEY ARE STILL IN THIS FIELD.

THEY BELIEVE JOHN F. KENNEDY JR.

IS COMING BACK TO RUN AS THE RUNNING MATE OF DONALD TRUMP IN 2024.

NOW, IN A NATION WHERE YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT AND THEN PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE, YOU KNOW, THAT THE COVID VACCINE CONTAINS, YOU KNOW, ALL SORTS OF SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY, AS WELL.

YEAH, THIS IS A PESSIMISTIC ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION -- THOSE THINGS, THOSE MYTHS AND THAT, YOU KNOW, INCLINATION TO BELIEVE IN CRAZY THINGS THAT ARE JUST NOT TRUE, THAT'S NOT GOING TO BE SOLVED BY A LEGAL PRINCIPLE OR A COURT RULING.

IT'S JUST NOT.

MY FINAL QUESTION FOR YOU, WE HAVE ABOUT TWO MINUTES LEFT, I KNOW THAT YOU DID FORMALLY ENDORSE HIM, BUT I DO WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT MANHATTAN'S NEWEST D.A., ALVIN BRAGG.

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE FOR HIM STEPPING INTO THIS POSITION, BUT ALSO, I MEAN, YOU TALKED SO MUCH ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A COP ON THE BEAT.

IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU THINK IS CRITICAL TO BEING SUCCESSFUL AS MANHATTAN D.A.?

I THINK THERE'S TWO THINGS.

SO, A COP ON THE BEAT, I THINK, IS IMPORTANT, PUBLIC SAFETY IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT.

IT'S INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO THE PEOPLE OF EVERY CITY AND COMMUNITY AND CERTAINLY THAT'S SO ON THE ISLAND OF MANHATTAN.

BUT FAIRNESS AND EQUITY AND MAKING SURE THAT ALL COMMUNITIES ARE TREATED IN A SIMILAR WAY, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR RACE OR BACKGROUND OR CREED, IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT AND IS INCREDIBLY IN QUESTION NOW, BASED ON A LOT OF THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN GOING ON.

WE HAD SOMETHING OF AN AWAKENING IN THIS COUNTRY THAT WAS LONG OVERDUE.

WE'LL SEE IF IT HAS LASTED IN A SUBSTANTIVE WAY, BUT AFTER THE KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD, AND ALVIN BRAGG, WHO I HIRED ONCE UPON A TIME INTO THE U.S.

ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, BEEN A FRIEND OF MINE FOR A LONG TIME, WHO I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR, HAS, AT THIS MOMENT, THE RIGHT BALANCE OF BACKGROUND, EXPERIENCE, YOU KNOW, HEART.

CARING ABOUT THE FACT THAT, YOU KNOW, MAYBE THERE'S NOT EQUAL JUSTICE IN THIS COUNTRY OR IN THAT COMMUNITY AT THE MOMENT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE BLACK OR PEOPLE WHO ARE OF COLOR AND HE UNDERSTANDS THAT PERSPECTIVE, BEING A BLACK MAN HIMSELF AND HAVING BEEN A BLACK PROSECUTORS.

AND SO, IF ANYBODY, TO MY MIND, CAN BALANCE THE NEEDS OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND FAIRNESS BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE WITH ALVIN BRAGG AND KNOWING HIM FOR A LONG TIME, I THINK IT'S HIM.

OF COURSE.

AND HE DID MENTION THAT -- BECAUSE HE HAS BROUGHT ON HIS OWN EXPERIENCE AND TALKED ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE MANHATTAN D.A.'S OFFICE WAS KNOWN FOR PROSECUTING A LOT OF BLACK DEFENDANTS AND THAT -- RACIAL DISPARITIES IN AT LEAST THAT OFFICE'S LEGAL SYSTEM IS SOMETHING HE WOULD WANT TO ADDRESS.

I BELIEVE HE SAID SPECIFICALLY SHUT DOWN.

DO YOU THINK THERE'S A WAY TO DO THAT?

WELL, IT'S A HARD THING TO DO, WHEN YOU HAVE ENTRENCHED PRACTICES AND POLICIES AND INTAKE SYSTEMS, SO, I DON'T ENVY ALVIN, BUT I THINK HE'S A CHANGE AGENT.

AND I WOULDN'T PRESUME TO GIVE HIM ADVICE ON THE AIR, BUT I THINK HE'LL HAVE A GOOD PLAN FOR DOING THAT, YEAH.

ABSOLUTELY, OF COURSE.

WELL, LISTEN, PREET, I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO JOIN US.

I WOULD LIKE ALSO TO REMIND OUR VIEWERS THAT YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PREET IN CONVERSATION WITH CONGRESSMAN ADAM SCHIFF, IF YOU GO TO OUR WEBSITE, METROFOCUS.ORG, TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ON THE FREE CONVERSATION THAT'S WORTH LISTENING IN ON.

FREE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU.

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