CAFE Insider Transcript 08/12: Death Of Jeffrey Epstein

CAFE Insider Transcript 08/12: Death Of Jeffrey Epstein

Read

Enjoy the transcript to this week’s episode of the CAFE Insider podcast:

Preet Bharara:              Hey there, Insiders, exciting news to share. This fall, Stay Tuned is going back on the road, and we’re headed to three new cities: Denver, Atlanta, and Detroit. As part of the Insider community, you have the first chance to buy tickets available right now at CAFE.com/tour.

Preet Bharara:              I’m lucky to have some wonderful guests joining me for the fall 2019 Stay Tuned tour: Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action, Dana Nessel, the Attorney General of Michigan, and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. We’ll be in Denver on October 24th, Detroit on November 12th, and Atlanta on December 4th. Head to CAFE.com/tour now for tickets. Hope to see you there. From CAFE, welcome to CAFE Insider. I’m Preet Bharara.

Anne Milgram:             And I’m Anne Milgram.

Preet Bharara:              How are you doing, Anne? You’re still in Los Angeles.

Anne Milgram:             Still in Los Angeles, coming back this week.

Preet Bharara:              Well, thanks for making the time for the show.

Anne Milgram:             Of course.

Preet Bharara:              What are you doing later?

Anne Milgram:             We’re going to go to the museum today of natural history, check out some dinosaurs and maybe tomorrow go to the aquarium again.

Preet Bharara:              Oh, how was the aquarium again?

Anne Milgram:             Yeah.

Preet Bharara:              Did you see-

Anne Milgram:             We went last week after the podcast.

Preet Bharara:              Look, you can’t go to the aquarium enough, I think.

Anne Milgram:             I think I have a five-year-old who would say the aquarium is number one on his list of things to do in Los Angeles.

Preet Bharara:              What was the favorite thing at the aquarium?

Anne Milgram:             I like the leafy seadragons, but I think he liked the jellyfish that are fluorescent green.

Preet Bharara:              Were there sting rays?

Anne Milgram:             Oh, yeah, and manta rays.

Preet Bharara:              Manta rays, right.

Anne Milgram:             Lots of rays.

Preet Bharara:              All right.

Anne Milgram:             It’s a great aquarium.

Preet Bharara:              Between now and the aquarium, we just have to talk about some unseemly stuff that happened in recent times. Everyone has been talking, as you might expect, about the death of Jeffrey Epstein by apparent suicide. Some people don’t think that’s the case. There are a lot of conspiracy theories floating around.

Preet Bharara:              It’s a stunning turn of events. I woke up Saturday morning to the news. Before we get to the conspiracy theories and how this could have happened and all of that, let’s just talk about some of the basic facts.

Preet Bharara:              To remind everyone, Jeffrey Epstein, supposed billionaire, money manager, although still people don’t understand where all his money came from, was arrested on federal trafficking charges by the Southern District of New York, US Attorney’s Office, and sought bail.

Preet Bharara:              Remember, we had a long conversation, folks, Anne and I did about his desire to have armed guards that he paid for at his $77 million mansion. That was denied, and so there he sits at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the MCC, which I know very well. Literally, it’s in downtown Manhattan, connected to the office, to 1 St. Andrew’s Plaza, where the main US Attorney’s Office is in the Southern District, by a bridge connecting the third floor of our office to the jail. People who are awaiting trial in the Southern District are generally housed there if they don’t make bail. There he sits, having been denied bail.

Preet Bharara:              Then I think on July 23rd or so, there is a report that he was found injured with marks on his neck. The question was: was that a result … We’re talking about this, too. Was that a result of an attempted suicide or was that a result of foul play? He had as a cellmate someone who’s been accused of a violent quadruple murder, who’s a big strong former cop.

Preet Bharara:              I don’t know that that question was ever resolved. But then over the course of the weekend, we learned that following that event on July 23rd, he was placed in what’s called suicide watch, and that happened for about six days. Then under circumstances that are not fully clear, he was permitted to go back to the special housing unit, the SHU, which is a segregated area in the Metropolitan Correctional Center for people who are either a more serious risk to others or for their own protection, either from others or from themselves. Then, of course, this past Saturday, he was found dead in his cell.

Anne Milgram:             A couple of quick points as well, which is that what would have happened is Epstein would have stayed in the MCC until the point of trial, as you said. Then if you were convicted at trial, and it certainly looked like there was extensive evidence that the government had against him, at which point he would have been sentenced to a term and, under the statutes that he was facing, it was very likely to be an incredibly lengthy prison term, if not essentially the rest of his life. That was the trajectory.

Anne Milgram:             The other thing, and we can come maybe to discuss the specifics of this a little bit later, but there is that moment also where he has a cellmate, as you said. He has the former police officer, the former cop accused of murdering four people, and then he does it in the SHU. He’s on his own. He’s taken off suicide watch. He’s on his own in the SHU and he doesn’t have a cellmate. There are a number facts, I think, that are worth thinking through and talking about.

Anne Milgram:             It was also reported over the weekend that, in the SHU, that he should have been checked every 30 minutes or so, that there is a process by which he would have been basically continually monitored, not on suicide watch. Suicide watch really is, and maybe we should talk more about this, but it’s the equivalent of a 24/7 thing. They strip all the bedsheets, they have somebody in a room that’s surrounded by windows. There’s an office that’s right off of it that somebody will be in, either a guard or another inmate, who’s on suicide prevention watch. The setup is a really critical part of the conversation, I think.

Preet Bharara:              Yes, let’s take a step back and talk about the MCC and the SHU. The SHU is a tough environment. The MCC itself is a tough environment. Lots and lots of famous defendants have been housed there pending trial, including Bernie Madoff, most recently El Chapo, [Akhman Gilani 00:05:48], who we convicted of terrorism charges.

Preet Bharara:              I once visited a cell in the SHU that was designated for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks, which I looked at, along with Eric holder and some others, when we thought back in 2009 that the mastermind of 9/11 was going to be tried here in New York.

Preet Bharara:              It’s a maximum security facility. It’s very, very secure and it ain’t no picnic. I’m not aware of any escape that has taken place out of the MCC. I’m also, by the way … And it may have happened, but I don’t remember any on my watch. It is also a place where you don’t hear about an inmate committing suicide.

Preet Bharara:              Now there’s a suicide issue throughout the country in a lot of different jails and prisons, and God knows they’re terrible circumstances, sometimes including at the MCC, but in jails and prisons around the country, one of which is the focus of a chapter of my book, Rikers Island. But whatever else you say about MCC, it is not known as a place where this kind of thing happens.

Preet Bharara:              As you point out, there is a serious protocol for suicide watch. In fact, you can come look at it online. I quoted and embedded it on Twitter over the past weekend. It goes on for pages and pages. Among other things, you have no bedsheets. There are certain kinds of clothes that you can or cannot wear. There are no fixtures in the room. You’re being constantly monitored. The likelihood of being able to take your own life successfully while under suicide watch, if it’s done correctly, is almost zero.

Anne Milgram:             It’s important to note that it looks like Epstein was only on suicide watch for about six days, that at a time of his suicide, he wasn’t on suicide watch. Just to your point about there are pages and pages of documents within the Bureau of Prisons about this, it’s worth noting that there is a very deeply established federal procedure that places like MCC are required to follow when it comes to inmates who are on suicide watch, when they get taken off suicide watch.

Anne Milgram:             I think one of the questions that needs to be investigated is why Epstein was taken off suicide watch after six days and what tells were there. It was reported that he was put on suicide watch after that first incident you mentioned, when it wasn’t clear if he was assaulted or if he had attempted suicide. It was reported over the weekend that it was an attempted suicide, that first effort. That immediately led to being put on suicide watch for six days. But I think there are a lot of questions about was the process followed, because again there is a very strong process. What decisions were made and why?

Anne Milgram:             Just to also go a little bit higher level on this for one minute, because I think a lot of people don’t understand something important, which is that the Federal Bureau of Prisons where the people who run MCC, they work for the attorney general. They work for Bill Barr. They’re in the AG’s office.

Anne Milgram:             It’s one of those strange things. In some ways, the chief federal prosecutor is also in charge of every federal prison in America. But it happens to be the case.

Anne Milgram:             I think that’s just worth noting when the investigation gets done. It looks like it’s being done both by the FBI and by the inspector general. But I do think, and I want to get your gut on this, Preet, because you have so much experience with the MCC, it does look like there are a lot of really important questions that need to be asked about what happened and why, because the bottom line is this shouldn’t happen.

Preet Bharara:              No. There are now two investigations that will proceed, I guess, in parallel, announced by the attorney general. One is by the FBI, they’ll look into the circumstances of Jeffrey Epstein’s death, and second by the inspector general, which office is known to do pretty thorough analyses of human failure and bureaucratic failure and also corruption, if that was in some way implicated here.

Preet Bharara:              What are some of the questions? We’ve already alluded to a few of them. Question number one is what happened in July 23rd? The reporting, I don’t always trust. Was it in fact an assault? Was it in fact an attempt at taking his own life? What was the proof of that? How thorough was the investigation of the incident on July 23rd that appears to have caused them to put your Jeffrey Epstein under suicide watch?

Preet Bharara:              Then when he was in suicide watch, what was going on there? How effectively was it being done? Then who made the decision and under whose approval? Because there are protocols for this also for him to be removed on July 29th and put back in the SHU.

Preet Bharara:              Then as I understand it, under, again, pretty detailed protocols, and you’ve already alluded to this as well, when you leave suicide watch, there’s an interim phase where, among other things, you’re looked in on every 30 minutes and you get a cellmate, which is another way to mitigate the likelihood that a suicide can happen.

Preet Bharara:              Both of those things didn’t happen on the night of his death. The question is, as some people reported, it’s not because they were lacking in staff, it’s not because people have been working overtime, and there’s reports about that as well, was that going on for several days? In other words, was he never being looked in on every 30 minutes, and every night he was at risk of taking his own life, or did this happen just on that one instance when he did happen to take his own life as reported?

Preet Bharara:              Lots and lots of questions like that, which I think you’ll be able to get answers to if they do a detailed investigation. They need to talk to everybody who was on duty. They need to talk to everyone who filed any paperwork. They also need to see if there’s any surveillance videotape of any and all things relating to that evening.

Anne Milgram:             You tweeted a little bit about the surveillance tape, Preet. Just a question, it sounds like from what’s been reported that the surveillance cameras are not in the specific cells, that they’re only in the hallway areas. But, arguably, you could learn a lot from the hallway areas because you could see are prison officials going every 30 minutes to check on him? It seems like there still could be a lot that you learn. I don’t know.

Preet Bharara:              Well, yeah. I tweeted based on commonsense and actually talking to some people who are in a position to know. It may be the case that in particular hallways there are no cell-facing cameras. But the folks I’ve talked to, including some people who used to work in my office, said, look, when you have a circumstance like this with one of the most high profile people in federal custody in the country and you’ve had an occasion of worrying about suicide, you take special precautions.

Preet Bharara:              In this case, it looks like they did less than what is mandated by the rules and protocols. Most people think they should have done that plus more. I mean El Chap was in that place. I’ve not found confirmation of this publicly, but it’s my understanding, and obviously El Chapo didn’t only have a danger of harm to self potentially, but also he escaped famously from a top security prison in Mexico, that there were eyes on him 24/7. You might expect such a thing with respect to Jeffrey Epstein.

Preet Bharara:              Maybe that’s not true, but, as you say, if you’ve got camera surveillance that shows at least the entryway to his cell and there’s a malfunction near that camera and it’s complete, you’ll be able to see over a period of time who, if anyone, went in and out of that cell.

Preet Bharara:              Presumably, if no one has gone in the cell during the time when he appears to have hanged himself, which is what the report is, then I think you have a better conclusion of whether he did it himself or he was aided or he was, in fact, the victim of foul play. The egress and ingress into that cell, as documented by a video camera, will be very telling.

Anne Milgram:             We should maybe also talk about why Epstein was an issue to begin with, which is, I think, just where it’s going through, it’s not uncommon for people who are accused of crimes against women and children to be at very high risk in general population, in a facility that there’s often violence from other inmates.

Anne Milgram:             The initial decision to put him in the SHU, was that based on the offenses that he’s charged with? Was it based on his counsel’s request, his request? Do you have any sense of that?

Preet Bharara:              Yeah. It was unclear. It could be a combination of all those things, just to let people know. Look, as I said, jail is not pleasant, and the SHU within a federal correctional facility is much less pleasant. I’ll read to you from the BOP definition of what a special housing unit or SHU is.

Preet Bharara:              They’re “housing units in bureau of institutions where inmates are securely separated from the general inmate population, and maybe housed either alone or with other inmates”. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in solitary. The reasons they give are “your presence in the general population poses a threat to life, property, self, staff, other inmates, the public, or the security or orderly running of the institution”, or, as you point out, it’s also possible that you can request it.

Preet Bharara:              In cases of protection, it may be that you requested or staff determined you need administrative detention status for your own protection. As you point out, there’s some people who are more vulnerable in prison population than others. This is true of police officers sometimes who are convicted of crimes or pending trial and in custody. There are a variety of reasons, all of which need to be studied and explored.

Preet Bharara:              By the way, this one issue, I think it’s very important in all this stuff, and you and I will go through it and parse it, and then continue to talk about it in the coming weeks as more facts come to light, to not jump to conclusions, because there are a lot of conspiracy theories running around, and to use commonsense and be very factual.

Preet Bharara:              I understand that it seems ridiculous, and that’s my view also, that this person was on suicide watch for six days and then removed. It does not seem right. But I’m willing to entertain that if real professionals were looking at this, that there were competing considerations.

Preet Bharara:              By the way, it is not pleasant to be in jail. It is even less pleasant to be in the SHU. It is even less pleasant than that to be in the circumstances of a suicide watch. If they determine … And again I have no idea if this is true. I think the overwhelming sense I have is this is not true.

Preet Bharara:              But I just want to leave open the possibility that that incident on July 23rd was not in fact a suicide attempt. It was in fact an assault. In an abundance of caution, they put him under suicide watch. By all outward appearances, this is all hypothetical, he seemed to be doing okay and did not want to be there anymore, because even more unpleasant than being in the SHU, and they said there’s no reason to keep him here. Now I don’t think that’s right, but I think it’s important to wait to see what the investigative findings are before pointing fingers in all different directions.

Preet Bharara:              The final thing I’ll say is, this has been pointed out to me on Twitter, you and I keep talking about the rules and the protocols. It would not be the first time in history that rules and protocols in a prison were not followed. It also is true they’re not allowed to have a cellphone, it’s also true they’re not allowed to have narcotics in jails and prisons, and those kinds of things happen all the time. There’s a real possibility, although I’ve not seen it before in this context, of rules being violated.

Anne Milgram:             Yeah, that’s a great point. I think, at a minimum, it’s clear from public reporting that there were some rules that were violated, at least processes and procedures within BOP. I think there are real questions of why that happened. The real question is going to be was it negligence? Was it misconduct on behalf of the officers? Was it calculated by Epstein to get the officers not to do that? We’re speculating, but there’s a ton of reasons.

Preet Bharara:              Yeah, or foul play.

Anne Milgram:             Or foul play, exactly. Exactly.

Preet Bharara:              Let’s go through them, so negligence, payoff by Epstein in some way to accomplish this on his own.

Anne Milgram:             Or a guard on a Friday night who doesn’t want to go every half an hour doing something … It could have been a payoff corruption. It could also just been a simple failure to follow the rules.

Preet Bharara:              Look, I think we’ve established already that clearly there were some level of incompetence and negligence and a lack of following the rules. That seems pretty clear. We’ll wait and see what the findings of the FBI and the inspector general are. But the fact that it happened, and it almost never happens, the fact that some protocols weren’t followed, I think there’s a lot of questions. At a bare minimum, you have that.

Preet Bharara:              Second, on this issue of whether or not someone of such means could pay someone off, it happens. It happens at the MCC. In fact, the defendant to whom we compare Jeffrey Epstein a couple of episodes ago, Reza Zarrab, the gold trader from Iran, who also tried to pay for his own personal guards in an expensive hotel or home in New York City, he was denied bail and was housed at the MCC. The corrections officer I believe was bribed with $50,000 to bring contraband to Reza Zarrab.

Preet Bharara:              That’s a circumstance where someone who had a lot of money was able to give some of that money to somebody who’s supposed to be protecting and following the rules to get contraband. Is it crazy that Jeffrey Epstein decided, “I don’t want to go through this and I want to end things forever,” for him to have been able to do that with somebody at the MCC? I hope not, but it’s certainly something … I’m not saying this lightly. It is certainly something that’s in the realm of possibility, don’t you think?

Anne Milgram:             Yes, I definitely do. I think it’s one of the main questions that came to my mind on Saturday was did Epstein pay somebody off? Did he convince the guards in some way to leave him on his own? Did he convince people that he wasn’t a suicide threat? I mean these are all questions that hopefully will be answered.

Anne Milgram:             But, yes, I mean I think, to your point, that there’s contraband in prisons and jails across America. There’s a stunning amount of both contraband being smuggled in, things that shouldn’t be there. Frankly, there’s a lot of things that happen in prisons and jails that shouldn’t happen that are publicly reported. I think we have to look at this with a basic understanding that there’s something that went wrong here, and the real question is: can they find out why?

Anne Milgram:             Obviously, they’re probably already interviewing subject to the union, the correctional officers union, rules, but they should be interviewing. There were two officers that were on duty Friday night into Saturday morning. They should be finding out where they were, why they did what they did. They should be interviewing and pulling all, obviously, the paperwork on suicide watch.

Anne Milgram:             The one other piece, which I did not know until I was reading up on the MCC protocols, is that there’s only one psychiatrist for the entire population, in a population that is often characterized as, both the prison and jail populations in America, having higher instances of mental health than the general population. It seems like there’s an incredible lack of experts, both psychologists and psychiatrists, in this space who are servicing the MCC. I think there’s also just a real question of is the process even such that it cannot be gamed by somebody who wants to game it?

Preet Bharara:              No, that’s completely true and a fair point and I think that’ll be looked at also. One thing I want to make sure the people understand about what you and I are saying, because we’re using these blithe analogs to other things that happen and rules that get violated and contraband in prisons, this is not like any of those things. Bad things happen in prison, and we know about that from television and from reading news reports. But the suicide of an incredibly high profile, I mean as high profile as you can get, an incredibly high profile federal inmate at a place like the MCC, where all sorts of things failed to prevent it, is incredibly unusual, if not unprecedented thing.

Anne Milgram:             Yeah. It’s a great point. I was shocked when I saw it.

Preet Bharara:              It is a shocking thing. I think, as seen by the reaction all the way from the attorney general [inaudible 00:20:49] down, and I credit the attorney general being … He said he was appalled, and he should be. I was and I know you were-

Anne Milgram:             Yes.

Preet Bharara:              … for a lot of reasons, including that at long last, when people thought they were going to get some closure and some understanding of the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein and some justice, that has been denied through uncertain circumstances.

Anne Milgram:             That’s right. That’s right. It is a failure on the part of the BOP without question. We’re speculating as to the reasons why, but it is an extraordinary thing.

Anne Milgram:             The other point that’s worth just making is that this is probably … I would have to think a little bit more about this, but this is without question one of the most high profile federal cases at the moment. The idea that taking Epstein off suicide watch wouldn’t have gone up the chain of command to a pretty high level or that these decisions weren’t being made at a pretty high level. I think the warden of MCC probably was involved in a lot of this.

Anne Milgram:             I think these are questions we have to ask because the way you act in a situation like this when you know that you have a very high profile inmate who is facing a lifetime in prison and has lost his bid to be out, there are a lot of sensitivities that I think would be brought to bear.

Anne Milgram:             By the way, that’s true of all inmates that are charged with these types of offenses, who face these problems, but Epstein was unique in a number of ways that I think would have meant that the people at the top are watching him very closely.

Preet Bharara:              Let’s just for a minute talk about this issue of suicide in criminal investigations. As I said, I’m not aware of anyone who died by suicide in custody while I was a US attorney. I haven’t found other people who remember that as well. I don’t know if you’ve had this awful experience, but there have been a number of occasions where somebody who is not in custody, who was under investigation took his or her life.

Preet Bharara:              I’m not a mental health professional, but in planning for arrests in certain kinds of cases, especially white-collar cases, people who have been very successful and were going to be arrested on charges that were very serious, sometimes relating to child pornography or corruption or something else, that was something we talked about with respect to the arrest. It’s something they you’re always sensitive to. There were protocols that you would undertake, and sometimes we would consider what we would say to the attorney in advance to make sure that the person being arrested would not do harm to himself. That happened on a number of occasions.

Preet Bharara:              The idea that when you have someone in custody like this after there had been an incident, that you wouldn’t be incredibly sensitive to that, it just still boggles my mind.

Anne Milgram:             Yeah, it’s a great point. It’s also worth just noting that the suicide rate in jails is three and a half times that of the suicide rate in the general population. That’s a lot. It does point out that when you deal in people being incarcerated, separated from their families, that suicide is a real concern that prisons and jails face just overall.

Anne Milgram:             Yes, with any defendant who is being held, it’s a significant change in their lives and it is a risk. 100%, it’s something that gets considered a lot by prosecutors, by prison and jail officials.

Anne Milgram:             This is extraordinary in many ways because Epstein, I think all of us would have thought that he was on special watch, that there was a situation where they would have been very cautious with him. Frankly, no one should die in a prison or a jail. But at the same time there’s a history nationally of this happening at rates that are not acceptable. It also does raise the question of how we handle all these issues in jails and prisons in my mind.

Preet Bharara:              Let’s indulge for a moment some of these conspiracy theories, either to assess them or debunk them. If it was in fact foul play, Anne Milgram, was the death ordered by Bill Clinton or by Donald Trump?

Anne Milgram:             I saw Donald Trump’s tweet. I was like … Wait. Let me see if I can find it to read it.

Preet Bharara:              Well, people are going out of their minds with respect to these conspiracy theories. There’s lots of people who are saying, well, they were rich and powerful men who had something to lose.

Preet Bharara:              By the way, the one thing we haven’t mentioned is the fact that feeds a conspiracy theories, but it also feeds a more sanguine theory also, and that is Jeffrey Epstein died, or was found dead, the morning after all these documents were made public, that named particular men, many of them famous and formerly powerful, who maybe would have had more revelations come out against them if Jeffrey Epstein were to live and testify and cooperate.

Preet Bharara:              That, on the one hand, may explain why he decided to end his life at that time. To the conspiracy theorists, it explains why people decided, “Well, we’ve had enough of this guy and we can’t let him live on.”

Anne Milgram:             It’s a really important point. We know for certain that last Friday, a federal appellate court in New York unsealed around 2,000 pages of documents from a civil defamation case that has been settled. That case was between a woman named Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who was an alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein, and the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who has been reported … She’s a long time Epstein associate. She was reported as one of the individuals who would go out and find young girls for Jeffrey Epstein as part of Epstein’s criminal enterprise.

Anne Milgram:             The allegations from Virginia Roberts Giuffre allege that Epstein and Maxwell together directed her to have sex with Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, former senator George Mitchell, a well-known prime minister who wasn’t named, a foreign man who was introduced to her as a prince.

Anne Milgram:             Remember, these are just allegations. The case never went to trial. The allegations were never tested in court. And so, they may be true and they may be false. But it is a level of finger-pointing as to specific individuals who may have been part of Epstein’s ring that it definitely raises questions and was a big part of the media story on Friday that these allegations were coming out.

Anne Milgram:             Again, they’re untested, but there’s no question that they’re being made against not just Epstein, but a woman who has actually not been charged in connection either in the federal case or in the Florida case in connection with Epstein. I think there are definitely questions that are surrounding that.

Anne Milgram:             You’re right that it could go to either point. It could go to Epstein’s motive to basically say, “Look, I’m going to spend the rest of my life in prison. I’m also going to end up taking down a lot of people with me. There’ll be a lot of collateral damage.” That could be a big motive for him to end his life.

Anne Milgram:             There’s also the possibility that this argument, which I don’t credit yet, but again I mean there’s a lot of facts and information we don’t have. I think you and I are both always … You always go with the most simple explanation until you learn more, but it does add fuel to the fire, this question of there are a lot of people who would have suffered if Epstein went to trial, or who could have been criminally implicated.

Preet Bharara:              Look, conspiracy theories are awful and they can do a lot of damage. They can be ludicrous. This is a circumstance in which there are so much craziness here. As is often said, if this had been a Hollywood script, it would have been rejected because it was not believable enough. You have the timing and you have the powerful men and you have the politics involved. You also have, I think, a point in time in our country where conspiracy theories are easy to feed and lots of people have access to social media, where people are putting out things and people are not focusing on facts, that it’s a perfect storm for conspiracy theorists.

Preet Bharara:              The one thing I will say, with respect to people who are suggesting, as someone did, that the President retweeted, this has something to the Clintons, the FCC, as you pointed out right at the beginning of this show, was in the Bureau of Prisons, which is in the Department of Justice, which is led by the handpicked attorney general of the President of the United States. That institution is under the direct control of the Trump administration. You have to take that into account as you think about crazy conspiracy theories.

Anne Milgram:             One question, Preet, which I had in my head a little bit is that obviously Trump has also been implicated. He was a close friend of Epstein’s for many years, then they had a falling out. But obviously we’ve all seen in the media a lot of pictures with Trump and Epstein with wives and girlfriends that have surfaced, and Epstein’s been charged.

Anne Milgram:             Again, I do feel like, in my mind, it’s a fair question to ask whether Bill Barr … I mean the FBI reports to Bill Barr. The inspector general is independent by statute, but works within the Department of Justice with Bill Barr. I do think inspectors general have been largely independent, but I still think if Trump is and has been implicated as potentially being a part of Jeffrey Epstein’s circle, I do think there’s a fair question of whether the Department of Justice should be in charge of this investigation.

Anne Milgram:             I’m not sure there’s a great answer, but I think, in today’s world, there’s such a dose of skepticism around everything that … It doesn’t mean I don’t think that the FBI could conduct a fair investigation, I actually do. But it did raise a question in my mind of thinking Trump appoints Bill Barr. Bill Barr is clearly a Trump … He plays for Trump’s team. We’ve seen that in a number of different ways. He oversees BOP. Epstein is associated with Trump. There is a level of connection here that I think gives rise to questions at least about how this should be handled.

Preet Bharara:              I’ll come across as either measured or naive with my answer. As Bill Barr sits in Washington, D.C., atop an institution of 100,000 or 110,000 men and women, the investigation is going to happen locally with local … I know the head of the IG’s office in New York. He used to work for me also. The FBI agents and the local prosecutors who will do the mundane work of looking at the footage, of looking at the documents, interviewing the witnesses, looking at the protocols, that is something that I find very hard to micromanage at the US attorney level, much less at the attorney general of United States level.

Preet Bharara:              Now at the end of the day, with the Mueller Report, as we’ve seen, if there’s a lengthy report that comes out, Bill Barr was able, I think, to distort it and put out a summary. There are ways in which Bill Barr can change the news a little bit when it comes out.

Preet Bharara:              But if there is a definitive, meticulous investigation done by both the inspector general and local FBI agents that can be seen to be full, thorough, complete, conclusive, it’s really hard to put a gloss on that. It’s really hard to twist it if you’re the attorney general. I think, still, in modern America, where lots of doubts linger and swirl on what happened in that case.

Preet Bharara:              The problem will be if it’s not conclusive or unable to be conclusive, because there’s no conclusive videotape, there’s no definitive explanation given for what happened, and you see lots of … Not every crime scene and every death can be fully explained. Think of the Kennedy assassination, for starters and most famously.

Preet Bharara:              In that circumstance, then I think lots of people be wondering was the fix in, or did something go awry, or was someone trying to protect someone, and whether it’s some of the people who were mentioned in the documents on Friday or some of these famous, current and former, presidents that we’re talking about.

Preet Bharara:              I still have faith and confidence that this doesn’t seem to be so complex that they can’t get to the bottom of it. But that remains to be seen.

Anne Milgram:             The one thing that’s maybe worth saying, and probably doesn’t need to be said in some ways or shouldn’t need to be said, but the investigation should be made public in some form. Inspector general reports are often released publicly. This is one of the areas where I think it’s critically important that the public get the opportunity to see the results of this kind of investigation.

Preet Bharara:              I totally agree with that. Also, by the way, I do have some criticism for the BOP. They don’t like to make statements. They don’t like to talk about what’s going on behind prison walls. They did make a statement on Saturday afternoon, but I think they would have done themselves a favor if they were more transparent.

Preet Bharara:              I know you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row and the ‘i’s dotted and the ‘t’s crossed and everything else, but there are other circumstances too when things happen at the MCC and in other prisons where speculation is rampant and conspiracy theories begin to swirl around. They would do themselves a favor, especially when they have facts that can calm people down, to make them public and not wait 18 months.

Anne Milgram:             I agree very much with that. Yeah.

Preet Bharara:              Okay. Now people are asking what happens with the case. Now with respect to Jeffrey Epstein, there’s no such thing in this country, in the federal system, that I’m aware of, of continuing to prosecute someone after their death. What will happen is they will file something that’s called a nolle, which is a dismissal of the indictment against Jeffrey Epstein. There’s no further prosecution of Epstein.

Preet Bharara:              With respect to assets, and I can’t remember if they were frozen, but with respect to any assets that may have been frozen and that may have been part of a plan to seize in connection with the crime, including properties of his, I don’t see a way by which they can actually do that because that would have to rely on a future guilty verdict. In a criminal case, since that can’t happen, I don’t know how that forfeiture can proceed.

Anne Milgram:             Separately, the victims in the Epstein case could bring civil cases and seek seizure and forfeiture of Epstein’s assets as part of those cases. But as part of the federal criminal case, that effort to seize his assets will end.

Preet Bharara:              But the question that remains: are there other people who could be charged with some of the crimes that Jeffrey Epstein was accused of?

Anne Milgram:             It seemed like Geoff Berman was saying that. I mean-

Preet Bharara:              Well, he made a very strong statement, and I’m proud of the office for doing this. It’s unusual to make a Saturday afternoon statement when you don’t have all of the facts ready yet. But I think this is an unusual case and an important case.

Preet Bharara:              He was very strong in talking about vindicating the victims when he announced the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein in the first place. He said, among other things, “Our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment, which included a conspiracy count, remains ongoing.” Then he urged people to come forward if they have information. There are some people who could still face criminal charges, right?

Anne Milgram:             Yes, absolutely. I thought it was a very strong statement. I actually noted that he went to great lengths to say, “We’re still investigating the conspiracy. Epstein didn’t do it alone, and we’re still looking at the people who did it with him.” That’s a very telling thing for him to say, which is that the case is ongoing. It may not be against Jeffrey Epstein, but we may be able to bring cases against other folks.

Anne Milgram:             I do think, to this point, that obviously the focus was on Epstein’s suicide over the weekend. But I do think that, and Berman, the current US attorney in the Southern District, pointed this, it’s very difficult for victims of Epstein, who feel like they have not been able to get a fair day in court, because of what happened in Florida with the non-prosecution agreement and now because Epstein’s suicide removes the criminal case.

Anne Milgram:             I think there is a lack of a sense of closure for the victims. Yes, they can still file civil lawsuits. Yes, they can still proceed in court. But I think a lot of victims saw Epstein being charged criminally and facing very serious federal criminal charges as a reckoning and Epstein getting his day in court and the victims getting their day in court, and that’s no longer the case. Berman, I think, was stepping out to say, “Look, we’re not going to have Epstein, but we’re still going to pursue this as aggressively as we can.”

Preet Bharara:              Can I ask you a question? Everyone is different. When I look at the current US attorney Geoffrey Berman’s statement, I think the following. I, obviously, as a US attorney, at this moment, know, not for certain but know, some likelihood of whether or not other charges are going to be able to be brought.

Preet Bharara:              I’ll be very loath to make a comment, I think, about the investigation being ongoing if I had reason to believe that the likelihood of other charges was close to zero. Sometimes you know that and sometimes that’s the case because you don’t want to raise expectations.

Anne Milgram:             I feel exactly the same way.

Preet Bharara:              If this were you, what would it take for you to make a statement like this in terms of likelihood of future charges?

Anne Milgram:             What you just said, which is I would not put something in here unless I believed that it was very likely we would charge someone. The reason is that these victims have been on a roller coaster. They’ve had decades of not being able to get their day in court. I would never want to give someone false hope if I didn’t believe that there were other likely charges.

Anne Milgram:             My read is exactly the same as yours, which is that Geoffrey Berman putting this in is a sign to me, at least the way I would have done it and I think you would have done it, is that it means that it’s very likely that there will be additional charges. Otherwise, you’re raising hopes and expectations, and you have victims who’ve already been disappointed in the federal government, let down by the criminal justice system through corruption and other problems. The last thing you want to do is give someone hope if it’s not true.

Preet Bharara:              A couple of things. Jeffrey Epstein’s death, and people’s concern about cases against other people and how that’s affected, presupposes that he was going to flip and cooperate. There’s a great likelihood that he wouldn’t have done that, and so that he wouldn’t have had evidence to bring to bear against other people.

Preet Bharara:              Also note that there were extensive searches done of Jeffrey Epstein’s homes and other properties. The fruits of the searches, do you agree, Anne, can still be used against everyone else, who will, by the way, not have standing to suppress that evidence.

Anne Milgram:             Exactly, yeah. The only person who would have had standing to argue that the evidence was illegally seized in violation of the constitution and laws was Jeffrey Epstein. If I leave something at your house, your house is searched, and it’s going to be used in a case involving you, and I come in and say, “He can’t use that, it’s mine,” I have no standing because it’s your house, it’s your property. And so here-

Preet Bharara:              And you should come get that stuff from your house as soon as possible.

Anne Milgram:             I don’t know why I always use me and you in hypos.

Preet Bharara:              As soon as you get back from LA, you should take back that bag you left.

Anne Milgram:             Moving on.

Preet Bharara:              Yeah, I don’t know.

Anne Milgram:             One question, Preet, and I think I’ve dealt with this a lot in my trafficking cases. But one of the questions that I think has been raised is a number of Epstein’s co-conspirators are people who are working with him as part of the criminal organization to get young girls, to make young girls available to him, and essentially sexually assault young girls. A lot of those women were very likely, or very possibly at least, also victims of Epstein.

Anne Milgram:             This is something I’ve seen in many trafficking cases, and one of the questions raised is would those individuals be charged because they’re potentially both victims and criminal defendants? I don’t know your experience in the space, but my answer is sometimes, and it really depends on the facts. But I have charged in human trafficking cases individuals who we believed were victims initially, but who then became such critical parts of the sex trafficking organization, and administered beatings and torture of young girls, that we felt we had to break those charges, that it wouldn’t be justice not to, while also being sympathetic and understanding that they were themselves victimized.

Anne Milgram:             There are other cases and there are many cases where individuals who are victims who then become part of the organization with the trafficker have not been charged. I think it really depends on the facts of the case and the specific women and what they’ve done that you’d be talking about.

Preet Bharara:              Yeah, I think that’s totally correct. We’ve been talking about lawsuits. Two lawsuits were filed this past week, both by former FBI agents, one Peter Strzok of special counsel investigation fame and Andrew McCabe, who had been the deputy director of the FBI under Jim Comey. Both of them were fired … Can I use the verb ignominiously?

Anne Milgram:             Yes.

Preet Bharara:              All right, I haven’t used that in a while. Fired ignominiously and arguably deprived of some retirement benefits. Andy McCabe literally the day before some vesting of his pension was to take place. They’re arguing, among other things, that it was retaliatory because there was all this pressure from the President on Jeff Sessions, the then attorney general, and other people to fire them. What do you make of this case?

Anne Milgram:             Yeah, I mean it’s interesting. Do you think they coordinated filing them in the same week? I mean I doubt it.

Preet Bharara:              My sense is that Peter Strzok … Look, and I’m not a civil litigator, even though these issues reflect on law enforcement conduct and activity and proper behavior. But the Peter Strzok, in some ways, has the stronger case and less weakness than the Andy McCabe case, and we can talk about why that is in a moment, and that maybe people were watching to see if Peter Strzok would file a suit and how that would be received. I don’t know there was coordination, though.

Anne Milgram:             Yeah. I agree with your read on the lawsuits, too. It’s worth remembering that Donald Trump tweeted extensively about both McCabe at about Peter Strzok and that the arguments are a little bit different in the lawsuits. Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who was fired, he was fired in August of 2018. He argues it was “because of his protected political speech in violation of his First Amendment rights”. Remember, he had the text messages with Lisa Page in which she was critical of the President. It became-

Preet Bharara:              I mean, in fairness-

Anne Milgram:             Very critical.

Preet Bharara:              … very critical of the President …

Anne Milgram:             And he was working on the investigation.

Preet Bharara:              … whom he was investing.

Anne Milgram:             Yes.

Preet Bharara:              Not a good thing, which is always important to say.

Anne Milgram:             Yes, terrible. What’s really interesting about Strzok, though, I think, and why I think one of the reasons why his case, I think, is probably a better case, has a better shot is that … So Strzok does this terrible thing, and I think you’re exactly right to point that out, which is he’s investigating the President.

Anne Milgram:             He has these wildly inappropriate text messages with a lawyer, Lisa Page, and is critical of the President, and basically says, “We’re not going to let it happen that he’s going to be elected.” It’s very clear that he has violated, in my view, whether it’s laws, probably not, but he’s done something in violation of the FBI rules and regulations he shouldn’t have done.

Anne Milgram:             Now he gets removed from the Mueller investigation and it goes to the assistant director in charge of the FBI, who makes a determination that he should not be fired. That’s one of the reasons why I think his case is stronger. She makes a finding that he should not be fired as a result of that, that he should be suspended for 60 days, and then allowed to resume his duties. He is fired. Despite that, he’s fired.

Anne Milgram:             His argument is, “I have free speech,” which obviously is not exactly true. We all have free speech, but when you’re an FBI agent, the FBI is allowed to tell you you can’t send messages that look like you’re prejudging an investigation, which this did.

Anne Milgram:             It’s very clear in the fair game that he would be disciplined and sanctioned for this. I think the question is: was there something political than in the FBI director saying that the assistant deputy directors finding that he should not be fired? The FBI director overturning that essentially and firing him, was that appropriate?

Preet Bharara:              Yeah, because procedurally, through the ordinary course, he was found to have engaged in some conduct that wasn’t good and got some discipline for it. As you point out, that was an overrule. The question will become and a lot of the fire will come from the assessment of whether or not the President, who so publicly called for this guy to be fired, he humiliated him publicly in tweets and otherwise, in his speeches, whether that had some effect. That has some persuasive force.

Anne Milgram:             Yeah. We don’t know the facts here enough to know whether this is truly a strong case, but one of the questions you would ask would be how often does the FBI director overturn the decisions of the assistant director in charge of the disciplinary process? If the answer is never, then it certainly would strengthen Peter Strzok’s enormously.

Anne Milgram:             If it’s all the time the FBI director gets to make decisions and sometimes thinks, “Actually, I think this is really serious, even though the disciplinary process doesn’t think it rises to the same level that I do. I’m going to fire that person.” Those are the kind of questions, I think, that we’re going to want to know more about.

Anne Milgram:             Now Andy McCabe, and you and I have talked about him before, his case, I think, is significantly different in many ways. It sounds like you think that as well.

Preet Bharara:              Well, the ways in which it’s similar is he gets fired in a politically charged environment, where the President is saying terrible things about him, and basically, through public airwaves and on social media, saying he should be fired. The timing looks certainly vindictive and retaliatory. All of those things are swirling around, which make it look a little bit similar.

Preet Bharara:              The difference is that in order to prevail on the lawsuit, for the government to prevail lawsuit, one of the things they would like to be able to show is that there was a non-nefarious reason for the firing and that it was justified. There’s an extensive inspector general report that pained me to read, which at multiple junctures say that Andy McCabe lacked candor in talking about statements that he authorized to the press that they said helped him personally.

Preet Bharara:              There was this controversy about whether or not there was a Clinton Foundation investigation, and Andy McCabe authorized someone at the FBI to tell a journalist that there was in fact that investigation, when Jim Comey had refused to confirm the fact of the investigation. At multiple points, when Andy McCabe was asked by investigating agents from the inspector general’s office about that, they found that he lacked candor. That’s not an authorized basis for dismissal. I think a lot is going to turn on whether or not he lied to investigators.

Anne Milgram:             Yeah. If we go back and think about it, and his strongest point, McCabe’s strongest point, is basically, “Trump asked me to give him political allegiance. I refused to swear that allegiance to him, and he fired me because of it.” If you didn’t have this … And there’s certainly a number of tweets that the President made about Andy McCabe attacking both he and his wife’s political affiliation. It certainly looks like Trump was targeting McCabe.

Anne Milgram:             But with the fact that he does have a finding that he violated a number of department policies and was not forthright, he lied essentially, if you didn’t have that piece, I think McCabe’s case is a lot stronger, with those findings about repeated instances in which McCabe didn’t tell people about what his role was in those leaks to the media. He actually misled them or, at least through omission, was telling a lie, was not truthful about it. If you didn’t have that, you have a very different situation here than you do given the fact that …

Anne Milgram:             One thing to note is, in some ways, McCabe and Strzok look similar because they both have findings against them that they did things they shouldn’t have done. I think the difference here is that McCabe’s has gone … He was the deputy director. He was removed and then terminated. The findings are extensive and repeated violations. Strzok was at a lower level. He was an agent. He wasn’t in a leadership position. There’s no indication that he actually lied about it. He may have, we don’t know that, but there’s no indication at this point that he lied about those text messages. There’s a difference.

Preet Bharara:              With Andy McCabe, there was an inspector general report that made these findings. Maybe a different set of inspector general investigators would have made different findings, but I don’t see any evidence, and it would be tough to find evidence, I think, that that IG investigation was biased or was prompted by the President or was steered in a particular direction because of outside political forces. A pretty thorough job.

Preet Bharara:              Now you can say that they didn’t like Andy McCabe’s explanations and they were too harsh in their judgment, but in the absence of that being found to be biased in some way and not done in good faith, then you have these conclusions that are pretty significant. I think it’s going to be hard to show the unreasonableness of the action. Although there may be some middle ground where the timing of the action and the lack of ultimate due process, which they’re alleging also, may allow him to have some relief.

Preet Bharara:              But the decision to engage in a disciplinary action against Andy McCabe based on what looks like good faith findings by the inspector general’s office, which you might even disagree with and think were too harsh, I don’t see how the lawsuit will suffer from those facts, I think.

Anne Milgram:             I agree. It’s also no matter what else you think, my reaction to both those lawsuits is that they’re bold moves. I mean they’re very much playing offense in cases where both of them have significant vulnerabilities and problems, McCabe with candor and the inspector general’s findings and Strzok with these deeply inappropriate and problematic text messages. They’ve come out swinging against the Department of Justice and the President, for sure.

Preet Bharara:              I want to make something clear also. This conversation that you and I are having as lawyers on the viability and likely the success of these lawsuits should not obscure the fact that what the President of the United States did in his social media posts and his speeches about singling out particularly a non-leadership member of the FBI, whatever you think about those texts and whatever you think about the inappropriateness of them, the President’s conduct, as the commander-in-chief and as a person who oversees the Department of Justice was nothing less than disgusting, stupid, and harmful to himself and the reputation of himself and the reputation of the bureau overall.

Preet Bharara:              Whether or not those allegations ultimately win the day for Peter Strzok and Andy McCabe in court, they point to something very important, that presidents should knock it off when it comes to this kind of conduct.

Anne Milgram:             I think that’s probably why the lawsuits were filed is my guess, is that it’s a pushback and a statement against the way the President behaved more that it is against even the disciplinary process.

Anne Milgram:             It’s worth noting that when it comes to law enforcement in particular that one of the reasons that people do go into law enforcement, there are so many reasons, but the pension benefits are very, very strong. It is an important part of individuals’ retirement that they go out with their pension benefits. For both of these individuals, for both McCabe and Strzok, I’m sure it’s a big deal that they’ve lost benefits.

Preet Bharara:              As usual, Anne, we’ve gone long and in-depth on some things. Can we talk very quickly then, before we bid adieu until next week, these ICE “raids” in Mississippi. 680 people, I don’t know if they were all arrested, but all swept up … Maybe they were all arrested because some were later released … in a state immigration enforcement action, people calling it the largest immigration enforcement action on a single day in US history, mostly taking place at a number of poultry processing plants in Mississippi, overseen by ICE and the United States Attorney in the Southern District of Mississippi.

Anne Milgram:             Yes.

Preet Bharara:              What do you make of that?

Anne Milgram:             There are a few points. I was deeply distressed to see this. There are a few points to be made, I think. First is that we talked about the El Paso mass shooting last week and we talked about the fact that it was specifically targeting Latinos and undocumented workers.

Anne Milgram:             There are a number of individuals who were murdered in El Paso who are still being buried and their families are still grieving. The idea that they would do an enforcement raid immediately to basically, I think, stoke or at least add fuel to the President’s anti-immigration fires, it’s appalling to me. That’s the first point to make.

Anne Milgram:             I think it’s worth noting that it makes it look like the President is undertaking a concerted effort against Latinos and undocumented immigrants and undocumented workers in the United States basically to punish them, to punish their children and their families, and to make them afraid to be here. That to me is deeply, deeply problematic.

Anne Milgram:             The second point, which I think you may want to weigh in on this, but I do think, as I read all this media coverage, there’s a real lack of understanding of what is a federal crime and what is not a federal crime. It’s important for people to know that being in the country, being undocumented in the United States is not a per se federal crime. T

Anne Milgram:             here are crimes that are associated with people being deported and re-entering the United States, which are charged and have been charged frequently under the Trump administration, but it’s important to recognize that not every single person who’s sitting here … There could be civil offenses brought against them for being undocumented, but that doesn’t make it a federal crime.

Anne Milgram:             Of this 600-plus people, the numbers that are eligible for a federal criminal prosecution, it will not be that number. I think that the way law enforcement, that ICE has painted this is we’re arresting all these criminals essentially is not accurate.

Anne Milgram:             The last point I just want to make, which I think is really important, and there’s incredible amounts of discretion that go to law enforcement and there’s a great piece by Joyce Vance in The Washington Post about this and her decision not to pursue these types of raids when she was the US attorney, but it’s really, really important just to note for second that the charges here are only being brought against the workers. They are not being brought against the companies. There have been no charges that have been filed against the poultry plants that are essentially employing these workers.

Anne Milgram:             If the President is serious about wanting to stop people from using an undocumented workforce, then the first thing you would do would be to charge the employers. The employees, they’ll be more employees there tomorrow. It’s really not an effective or efficient way. If you really wanted to actually stop the employment question, you would be doing this completely differently than the President is doing it.

Preet Bharara:              I agree with all of that. I want to say, in fairness, which is an odd thing to say given some of the conduct, I watched immigration officials go on television yesterday and looked at some of their statements, and they are not saying that employers will not be charged. They’re making a point to say that they’re looking both at people who were working unlawfully in the United States and the employers who knowingly hire them.

Preet Bharara:              When I was US attorney, we wanted to go at the people who were responsible for misconduct as high up on the food chain as you could. Both then and when I was in the Senate along with you, when we were working on immigration reform in the Senate, the focus seemed to be more on deterring employers from luring people from other places to come work in a country unlawfully, getting the benefit of their employment, getting the benefit of being able to pay them less, getting the benefit of being able to exploit them because they’d be fearful about complaining about work conditions.

Preet Bharara:              Some of these employers are knowingly engaging in really bad conduct. I guess the jury’s out a little bit on whether or not they will ultimately charge employers. Maybe they’re just saying that now.

Preet Bharara:              I do agree with what you have said and what Joyce Vance, my former colleague, a US attorney in Alabama, said in her op-ed, that normally you would expect the enforcement action against employers to happen first so you don’t tip your hand and/or simultaneously we’re doing something with respect to the people, if you do anything at all, the people who are employed there without documentation. So it’s a little bit odd.

Preet Bharara:              It is also true, and I don’t know all the circumstances, that depending on how clever the employers are to say, “Well, we relied on a third-party vendor,” like some people do with respect to their cleaning services or with respect to their nannies, there are people who engage in bad conduct, who just are willfully blind.

Preet Bharara:              In some circumstances … Although I find it hard to believe that those circumstances apply here when you have 680 people swept up. In some circumstances, it might be hard to prove criminally the intent of the employer who could say, “Well, the service certified that they were documented and they were lawful, and so I proceeded.”

Preet Bharara:              I mean that’s often bullshit. I think if you’re a good prosecutor, a good investigator, you know that it’s BS and you try to pierce that and you get under it. You deal with the employers who are engaging in the violation, willful violation, of federal law and the exploitation of people who are coming in. But at least, according to their lip service, they’re looking at the employers, too.

Anne Milgram:             One point that’s worth making is that it is a harder case to bring a case against the employer, without question. It’s a harder case to prove against the employer. But it’s the more important part of this conversation. If you want to think about people being exploited as workers and stopping this unfair competition, then the action has to be brought against the employers.

Anne Milgram:             Yes, they could be charged after, but it’s just, it feels to me, completely the wrong way to do a criminal prosecution to take the workers out first. Also, this was done with a lot of fanfare, a lot of talking about, it’s the biggest enforcement action ever, and not to bring an action against the companies. It doesn’t make sense.

Preet Bharara:              Yeah, it sends a terrible message and it makes it seem like some people can operate with impunity, combined with these other stories, by the way, which, like so many things in the Trump era, I find astonishing, is that, hey, guess what? Guess who else is engaging in this kind of conduct, in exploiting undocumented labor? Oh, it’s the President’s own companies, right?

Anne Milgram:             Right.

Preet Bharara:              There’s case after case where there’s evidence that Trump businesses have been doing the same thing. What’s his answer when he says he’s … On the one hand, he says he’s responsible for every bit of success in everything he’s ever touched. Here he says, “Well, I don’t run those companies,” or, “I didn’t run that company.”

Anne Milgram:             Yes. It’s also worth pointing out, and we’ve talked about this before, but the way that children were treated during these raids, that ICE literally took parents, there were kids who are not picked up from daycare, from camps, from schools. There were literally photographs of kids being left on the street with neighbors because ICE had taken their family.

Anne Milgram:             We have to be really, I think, honest with ourselves about ICE says, “Well, we ask people if they have kids and we’ll make arrangements for the kids to be picked up.” But the reality of if you’re a parent, the last thing you want ICE to do in today’s world is to pick up your children. You fear that they’ll be put into an incarceration, into essentially a jail cell. The reality of that is just that ICE is basically taking apart families yet again, and the President went out and said that this is a good deterrent.

Anne Milgram:             We should be really clear yet again that it appears that ICE and the federal government, that they’re using immigration to try to punish parents, and they’re using children to punish parents and to basically breed fear into individuals who are undocumented in the US. I don’t think we should let this go without making the larger point of the President has a very concerted effort here and a very clear plan. This, in my mind, is just another part of that.

Preet Bharara:              Right. So kind of a rough week.

Anne Milgram:             Yeah.

Preet Bharara:              Not a lot of room for humor within these stories this week. But we’ll pay attention to the news in the coming seven days and we’ll report back to you next Monday. See you next Monday, Anne.

Anne Milgram:             Send us questions. Take care, bye.

Preet Bharara:              This is the CAFE Insider podcast. Your hosts are Preet Bharara and Anne Milgram. The executive producer is Tamara Sepper. The senior producer is Aaron Dalton. The CAFE team is Carla Pierini, Julia Doyle, Calvin Lord, Vinay Basti, and Geoff Isenman. Our music is by Andrew Dost. Thank you for being a part of the CAFE Insider community.

 

x