The New York Attorney General just made a move that has the Trump administration very worried. Eric Schneiderman, the state’s highest prosecutorial official, has just hired a former top lawyer and the right-hand man from the office of Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney who was just controversially fired by Trump after refusing to resign.
Schneiderman is a very public critic of the president and is the only public official in the US to have sued Trump for fraud. That case, over fraudulent marketing claims by Trump University, was settled for $25 million after Trump’s election.
Howard Master, the prosecutor who successfully managed the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s prosecution against NY State Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, is being brought on as senior enforcement counsel to pursue public corruption cases, according to the Wall Street Journal.
With this new hire, speculation is rife that Schneiderman and Master will be putting litigation against the Trump administration into high gear. According to a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office, Master
“will be working on a wide range of civil and criminal investigations and enforcement matters, including public corruption, complex civil litigation” and potentially litigation against the Trump administration.
Just last week, Schneiderman joined other state attorneys general in fighting the Trump administration’s revised immigration order. Next on the agenda is reportedly an investigation as to whether his office has judicial standing to go after cases involving the emolument clause of the U.S. Constitution which prohibits federal officeholders from being paid by foreign governments.
With the addition of Master, who in his nearly ten years in the U.S. Attorney’s office in NY oversaw some of the biggest public-corruption and healthcare fraud cases, the NY State Attorney General’s staff will be well positioned to bring criminal charges against any Trump administration and campaign staff in their crosshairs. Chances are that they won’t have to look very far.