Lanny Breuer Enters the Free Agent Market

Sheesh. Lanny Breuer sure seems to need — and be able to demand — frequent fellations from the press.

The latest version comes from an excerpted interview with the NYT. Much of it covers familiar ground, with Lanny asserting that, really, he shares the public outrage about the banksters, then suggesting it was the USA Attorneys, not him, who chose not to prosecute them.

Q. You agreed to go on “60 Minutes” and “Frontline” to discuss the lack of crisis cases. Why open yourself to such scrutiny?

A. People have been asking legitimate questions about what happened in the wake of the financial crisis, and they deserve answers. Someone had to go on television to explain the Justice Department’s point of view, and it was appropriate that, as head of the criminal division, I would do it.

Q. But federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere also played big roles in the crisis cases. Why you?

A. As you point out, the U.S. attorneys don’t report to me, but someone had to tell the public how hard prosecutors across the department have been investigating these cases. I was willing to talk about these issues, to continue to talk about them in the face of criticism, and I’m still willing to talk about them.

As with the earlier versions of this lame excuse, neither Lanny nor the interviewer mentions the larger task forces (like the foreclosure fraud one) where Lanny was a central player in not prosecuting banksters, nor do they mention Lanny’s past descriptions of talking to experts and CEOs before making decisions on not indicting banksters.

But the lame excuse also comes with a new twist.

Q. Given that you’ve taken a beating on crisis cases, what is your legacy here?

A. The criminal division is now at the center of criminal law enforcement, both in prosecutions and policy. I don’t think that was ever the case before.

The very next question — at least as excerpted — after reporting Lanny dodging any direct responsibility for not prosecuting banksters, Ben Protess records Lanny claiming credit for putting the Criminal Division solidly at the center of criminal law enforcement — or lack of enforcement, in the case of the banksters.

Not responsible. Responsible, In four lines or less.

The only news in this article, as far as I can see, is this exchange.

Q. What’s next?

A. I’m probably going to take a few months off. I’m also going to start talking to law firms and the like and make a decision about where I’m going to go.

Q. The interviews are just a formality, right? The legal world assumes you’re heading back to Covington & Burling.

A. I love Covington. But I’m going to look at Covington; I’ll look at other firms. It’s certainly not a formality.

The man who just finished 4 hard years of not prosecuting any banksters is going to shop around and perhaps may not return to his former spooked up, corporatist, but not necessarily the most bank focused firm.

Lanny’s gonna see how much helping banksters avoid prosecution is worth.

Free agency riches: It’s not just for sports figures anymore.

14 replies
  1. Jim White says:

    This exchange proves the entire article is a sham:

    Q. What gear did you assemble from your ex-Yankee client?

    A. Balls, posters — we’ve got a lot of Clemens memorabilia. You need to recognize, I was a lifelong Mets fan.

    The complete failure to indict and try even one bank executive despite overwhelming publicly available evidence of widespread fraud, proves Breuer has never had any balls anywhere near him.

  2. Peterr says:

    I think you’re nailed the analogy Lanny wants to believe. But I’m wondering if the proper analogy is slightly different . . .

    Lanny’s value to the bankster community was his fear of what might happen to the banks and Wall Street if prosecutions took place, and his ability to infect others at DOJ and Treasury with those same fears, thus slowing down any potential prosecutions. Without an office at DOJ, his ability to infect others in power is significantly diminished.

    Lanny’s problem is that no one pays Patient Zero. Not even the drug companies that benefit from an epidemic.

  3. Martin Smith says:

    I was the producer and correspondent for the FRONTLINE documentary, “The Untouchables,” that Protess and Breuer speak of in the NYT exit interview. One point I want to raise is that we tried several times to speak to the US attorneys in New York and in Los Angeles. But in both instances we were immediately called by main justice in DC and told that we would only be speaking to Mr. Breuer… that US attorneys would not speak to us. So, though Breuer says the US Attorneys do not report to him, the DoJ did block our attempts to include others. Yes, US attorneys operate with some autonomy, but to say that they don’t ever report to Breuer is not fully accurate.

  4. PeasantParty says:

    Lanny, a fine example of the Psychotic explaning how psychosis is good for everyone.


    No wonder the Fed keeps doing the QE dance thinking main street will ever get any recovery. Nooo! Let’s just keep covering for them and send them more money on a monthly basis. See! It’s simple. The more money TBTF has the better things look from the view up here.

  5. What Constitution? says:

    @Martin Smith: Thank you for volunteering that informative bit of context. So, yes, it does indeed appear that it generally is safe to assume that Mr. Breuer is lying if his lips are moving.

  6. emptywheel says:

    @Martin Smith: Have you guys made that point publicly (aside from here–thanks for joining us!) anywhere?

    It ought to be magnified.

    Great work, btw–that piece finally embarrassed DOJ.

  7. Eric the Fruit Baat says:

    We ought to find every state Breuer is licensed and file to get his law licesnses yanked for the simple reason he never practiced law while at the DOJ.

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