Last Friday a remarkably well-produced investigative video was released on YouTube by John Titus under the username “BestEvidence”. John Titus is known for his role in the production of Bailout, a movie that explains the political corruption and financial crimes that occurred during the era of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent bailouts of “too big to fail” global banks.
This latest video is titled “The Veneer of Justice in a Kingdom of Crime”, and it investigates the question of why Goldman Sachs and other “too big to fail” financial institutions have managed to avoid prosecution for fraud or other financial crimes in spite of the fact that many other reports, for example the Untouchables episode that aired on PBS Frontline back in 2013, seemed to expose and implicate them. The video does a very good job of connecting the metaphorical dots and showing the extent to which political corruption in the United States, along with the influence of global banks, has effectively subverted the rule of law and rendered a certain elite class of people immune from prosecution.
After watching this enlightening documentary I searched online for a transcript but could not find one at the time, so after several hours of rather tedious work, I managed to compose a text transcript of it myself. I have posted this text below the video.
Narrator: Welcome to BestEvidence. I am John Titus. Today we are going to turn from the Federal Reserve to the Justice Department and the lack of any major bank prosecution in the wake of the financial crisis. To put the issue into perspective, imagine that you hire two crews to catch fish. The first crew takes a motorboat out onto a lake, and after a good amount of time comes back with 1000 fish, some of which are the biggest fish in the lake, some 50 pounders — a pretty good outing. The second crew takes an aircraft carrier out into the Atlantic Ocean, and after the same amount of time as the first crew, the captain of the carrier comes back, and with a completely straight face presents you with a five-gallon paint bucket containing 10 minnows — and he brags about it. This isn’t a joke, it’s completely real, and it’s going on right now.
The lake is the Savings and Loan Crisis from the 1980s when 1000 criminally fraudulent bankers went to prison. That crisis ran 125, maybe 150 billion dollars in damages. The ocean is the current crisis that started in 2008. By the most conservative estimates, it is a 13 trillion dollar crisis and it’s not over because here’s the thing. The captain of the motorboat, Bill Black, publicly offered many times to help the DOJ out with prosecutions. And yet, despite Black’s track record of success, the DOJ rejected each and every one of his offers. It is time to cope with the fact that the catastrophic failure of the United States Justice Department is the work of treasonous criminals who are running it.
(scene switches to black and white television screen)
Speaker 1: Now sir, uh, in general about the Department of Justice, isn’t it true that nations that have fallen into totalitarianism, that one of the agents is a government that has become totalitarian or is a tool of totalitarianism has been the Department of Justice. Isn’t that one of the key agencies that shows deterioration…
Speaker 2: A dictator must get control of the justice department and the police, the interior.
Speaker 1: So if our own country, as many people fear, if our own country should ever fall into totalitarianism, the Department of Justice would be one of the first failures, wouldn’t it?
Speaker 2: It would be an absolutely essential cog in such a machine.
(scene switches to Department of Justice document)
Narrator: There was always something off about the DOJ’s announcement that it wouldn’t prosecute Goldman Sachs. Normally the DOJ doesn’t decline prosecutions in public, but Goldman made headlines robbing its own clients. Amid rising popular bloodlust, the DOJ felt that it had to explain why Goldman walked, which is remarkable all by itself. But that’s not what’s odd. The statement itself is flawed, and not in some random paragraph. It’s the one sentence that had to be perfect - the money shot giving Goldman a pass, which is legally inexplicable.
(narrator quotes from the document)
“Based on the law and evidence as they exist at this time, there is not a viable basis to bring a criminal prosecution with respect to Goldman Sachs”…(narrator emphasizes document text) “as they exist at this time” implies that changes in law and evidence alike could produce an indictment, which isn’t so. New evidence, of course, could change the outcome; the DOJ’s statement expressly contemplates as much. A smoking gun email from a whistleblower or a wiretap gone hot might have tipped the scales in favor of prosecution. A single admission can put the whole case on a dime. But the law doesn’t work that way. The Senate referred Goldman to the DOJ for criminal fraud, where the law is very, very old and any new law passed to ensnare Goldman would have been ex post facto and constitutionally void on arrival. The statement should say “as it exists” to make it clear that Goldman could have been indicted based only on new evidence. But it doesn’t say that - and the question is why?
For three years details about how the DOJ was handling cases of Wall Street crime have emerged from various sources and the policy of non-prosecution is now well known. But the statement exonerating Goldman Sachs has remained inscrutable. That changed earlier this year when the DOJ produced a one-page document that supplied the missing piece of the puzzle. As it turns out, the Department of Justice has ignored black-letter law all along to carry out an agenda that was illegal from the start. In this light, as we shall see, the DOJ statement is flawless.
(introductory music plays during display of title and credits; music continues playing while “A Brief Legal History…” outline is displayed on screen)
Part 1: Background
Narrator: Goldman Sachs exploded onto the public stage in April of 2010 when it got hammered by the Senate for mulcting clients out of billions in bad mortgage investments. Goldman designed the investments to fail and raked in billions when clients got wiped out.
Speaker talking to Goldman Sachs CEO on television: Do you think they know that you think something is a piece of crap when you sell it them and then bet against it? Do you think they know that?
Narrator: Ten days before the hearing, The Securities and Exchange Commission had sued Goldman for securities fraud, and the Senate, which was investigating the financial crisis, wanted answers. The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was working on a report that got into the causes of the 2008 meltdown. And toxic mortgages like those sold by Goldman Sachs had been the dominant catalyst.
The Senate report would run 640 pages and over 2900 footnotes, and in fully 260 pages (40 percent of the total) Goldman Sachs stole the show. Goldman’s Hudson deal highlights the two-step fraud for easy money. Step 1 was sniffing out loans likely to default and pooling them for sale under names like Hudson. This often cleared bad debts off Goldman’s books. Step 2 was making huge bets that the loans would fail after investors bought them and keeping the bets hidden. To get clients to put their money into the bad investments, Goldman invested $6 million of its own money in Hudson. Goldman then advertised the $6 million investment quite accurately in marketing materials. Goldman claimed it had an interest in Hudson’s success, which again was technically accurate, but Goldman hid just one little detail: while Goldman had bet $6 million on Hudson’s success, it had secretly bet $2 billion that Hudson would fail. Goldman made money, in other words, by betting on horse races that it had rigged. Goldman put $1 on its poisoned horse to win and touted this bet so that the clients would bet on Hudson themselves. Secretly, though, Hudson had bet $330 that Hudson would die while running down the stretch. Goldman made vast sums of money on its hidden death bets when investors got cleaned out. Goldman pocketed nearly $1.7 billion in gross revenues from Hudson 1, all of which was at the expense of the Hudson investors. Not surprisingly, the SEC’s case for securities fraud was a layup.
Chris Whalen, bank analyst: That’s a basic securities fraud type — you sold me something that was AAA, but it wasn’t. That’s it.
Narrator: In front of the Senate, Lloyd Blankfein offered two legal defenses.
Lloyd Blankfein: On strong disagreement with the SEC’s complaint, I also realize how such a complicated transaction may look to many people. For them, it is a confirmation of how out of control Wall Street has become no matter how sophisticated the parties or what disclosures were made.
Narrator: Neither the “sophisticated parties” defense nor the “accurate disclosures” defense had any legal merit. Arguing that Goldman’s disclosures were accurate failed on both the facts and the law. As a factual matter, it failed to duck the brunt of the fraud charge, which was concealment, not affirmative misrepresentation. As a legal matter, Blankfein’s claim of accurate disclosures likewise misses the mark since the SEC’s case of fraud was grounded in concealment.
The Supreme Court authority has made it crystal clear that conduct itself can be deceptive without oral or written statements at all. Like Blankfein’s other defense, that Goldman’s investors were sophisticated parties who didn’t rely on Goldman’s misrepresentations, badly missed the mark as well. Regardless of the sophistication or knowledge of the customer, reliance is immaterial in an SEC case against a broker. In short, Goldman Sachs had no legal defense at all and quickly paid the largest fine ever levied by the SEC to make the case go away.
By now, the Senate Judiciary Committee had gotten interested, not so much in Goldman Sachs or even Wall Street, but in the DOJ’s failure to prosecute any major bank or executive. Senator Ted Kaufman elicited some highly revealing testimony from Lanny Breuer, the head of the DOJ’s criminal division responsible for bringing prosecutions. Breuer claimed that his efforts to prosecute Wall Street were being thwarted by the high legal standards for proving fraud. The alleged hurdles he complained of, however, were exactly the same bogus legal defenses that Lloyd Blankfein had used. Justice Lloyd Blankfein had tried to scapegoat Goldman’s victims as too sophisticated to have relied on the bank’s lies. Here was Breuer making exactly the same claim:
Breuer: Many times you have very sophisticated parties on both sides of these very, very difficult and complicated transactions…
Narrator: The problem is that the victim’s reliance is irrelevant in criminal fraud cases, just as it was in Goldman’s securities fraud case. Whether or not a victim in fact relied upon a defendant’s false representations is irrelevant in criminal fraud cases.
Breuer revealed that the DOJ had been using another page out of Goldman’s playbook when it came to disclosures. According to Breuer, the DOJ hadn’t even considered cases like Hudson where deceptive concealment was the issue. Like Blankfein, Breuer’s litmus test was whether a disclosure was accurate.
Breuer: Every one of the people we prosecuted made false statements.
Narrator: Breuer’s false legal standard enabled him to ignore cases of fraudulent concealment, precisely the same error made by Lloyd Blankfein. The question is how America’s number one criminal fraud suspect and number two law enforcer were committing exactly the same fundamental legal errors just weeks apart from each other.
The first clue about Breuer’s copycat legal errors came in 2012 when Forbes ran an article about his law firm, Covington and Burling, the same white-collar defense firm that Attorney General Eric Holder had come from, represents all of the “too big to fail” banks. Starting with Goldman Sachs, the question raised by Forbes, “Is Wall Street too big for jail?”, got a lot louder when the DOJ exonerated Goldman in August 2012. Four months after that, when the DOJ refused to indict any UBS executives despite the bank’s admission to criminal rate rigging, it was no longer a question.
Eric Holder: I mean that’s a factor and I’m talking about just this case. But in others that we have resolved the impact of the stability of the financial markets around the world is something that we take into consideration. We reach out to experts outside of the Justice Department to talk about what are the consequences of actions that we might take, what would be the impact of those actions if we want to make particular prosecutive decisions or determinations in regard to particular institutions. That factors into the kinds of decisions that we make.
Narrator: At this point, as questions swirled around how exactly the DOJ’s refusal to prosecute certain banks squared with the rule of law, the nerviest reporter showed up in Larry Breuer’s office looking for answers.
Part 2: Lessons from the Untouchables
When “The Untouchables” aired in January of 2013 it blew away everything the media had ever done on the DOJ’s refusal to prosecute Wall Street by answering the most fundamental question of all which no one else had even asked.
Reporter: Did the department undertake a purposeful, concerted, timely investigation of higher-level Wall Street executives?
Narrator: It took Martin Smith just two questions to prove through Lanny Breuer’s mouth that the DOJ had never lifted a finger to even investigate, much less prosecute Wall Street crime.
Reporter Martin Smith: We spoke to a couple of sources from within the criminal division and they reported that when it came to Wall Street there were no investigations going on, there were no subpoenas, no document reviews, no wiretaps.
Breuer: Well I don’t know who you spoke with because we have looked hard at the very types of matters that you’re talking about.
Martin Smith: These sources said that at the weekly indictment approval meetings that there was no case ever mentioned that was even close to indicting Wall Street for financial crimes.
Breuer: Martin, if you look at what we in the U.S. attorney community did I think you have to take a step back.
Narrator: The DOJ’s failure to investigate, though shocking, is just one of countless examples of its all-out campaign to serve global banks at the expense of all else, including the law that it is required to enforce. Martin Smith also captured, but didn’t air, Breuer’s many attempts throughout the interview to blame failure to prosecute on the alleged difficulty of proving criminal fraud. A look at the case law, however, reveals that Breuer was simply lying, and he didn’t lie about just one element of criminal fraud — he lied about three.
First, Breuer claimed that unless someone makes a false statement there’s no fraud — that’s simply false. No statements are required at all where deceptive concealment is an issue like Goldman’s Hudson deal. The case law is unambiguous; fraud can be effected not only by deceitful statements but also by statements of half-truths or concealment of material facts. Breuer was again parroting Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein on the point.
Second, Breuer claimed that the DOJ has to prove that you intended to commit a crime in fraud cases. This too blatantly misstates the legal standard. Under Breuer’s false “intent to commit a crime” standard no one would ever be convicted of fraud. The actual black leather test for fraudulent intent is whether the accused acted in a way reasonably calculated to deceive.
Third, Breuer claimed that fraud requires proof that the other side of the transaction relied on what you were saying. Once again Breuer trotted out Lloyd Blankfein’s “sophisticated counterparties” defense. Breuer was lying about the law here too. This particular lie, though, revealed Breuer’s willingness to invent a fake legal requirement out of thin air. It was so aggressively false that a federal judge called out Lanny Breuer in The New York Review of Books in a 4000-word essay on the DOJ’s failure to prosecute global banks. Judge Jed Rakoff from the Southern District of New York blasted Breuer. Breuer’s reliance requirement, Judge Rakoff wrote, “…totally misstates the law. In actuality, in a criminal fraud case the government is never required to prove — ever– that one party to a transaction relied on the word of another. Because that would give a crooked seller a license to lie whenever he was dealing with a sophisticated buyer.”
Having shown that the DOJ never prosecuted Wall Street crime because it never investigated, “The Untouchables” next turned to the reason why — it was never the law. Had the global banks really committed no crimes Lanny Breuer wouldn’t have lied about it at every turn. The real impediment to prosecutions was something else. Breuer himself had actually explained what it was in a prior speech about the DOJ’s refusal to prosecute the worst white-collar crimes. While the speech had been about corporations generally, Martin Smith very deftly got Breuer to admit that he really meant big banks.
Martin Smith: You gave a speech before the New York Bar Association and in that speech you made a reference to losing sleep at night worrying about what a lawsuit might result in at a large financial institution.
Narrator: Breuer had delivered this speech to a bar association dominated by white collar defense lawyers four months before “The Untouchables” aired. In it, he provided a roadmap for how to make economic rather than legal arguments that would shield criminal clients from prosecution.
Breuer: We are frequently on the receiving end of presentations from defense counsel, CEOs, and economists who argue that the collateral consequences of an indictment would be devastating for their client. In my conference room over these past years I have heard sober predictions that a company or bank might fail if we indict, that innocent employees could lose their jobs, that entire industries may be affected and even that global markets will feel the effects. Sometimes — though let me stress not always — these presentations are compelling.
Narrator: Breuer’s speech revealed that he had lied to the Senate, falsely testifying that his failure to prosecute was due to the legal difficulty of proving fraud. In fact, Breuer now admitted, it was economic arguments about collateral consequences that had compelled him all along not to prosecute. Former senator Ted Kaufman was not amused.
Ted Kaufman: That was very disturbing to me, very disturbing, that was never raised at any time during any of our discussions.
Narrator: While Kaufman was rightly disturbed by Breuer’s false concealment of his real reasons for not prosecuting, he seemed to miss the most chilling aspect of Breuer’s speech: the collateral consequences presentations in Breuer’s conference room really aren’t arguments at all — they are threats since the banks are forecasting how severely they themselves will respond to any checks on their criminality. Curiously, it was Kaufman himself who confirmed that this is exactly how Wall Street responded to his own investigation.
Ted Kaufman: Lots of people on Wall Street said what do you do when you’re trying to destroy the banks, there’s no crime up here, we didn’t commit any crimes, there’s no reason to come up here and start talking about crimes plus we’re very very fragile and you know something could happen if in fact you start talking about crime, which was just totally completely ridiculous.
Narrator: Taken together, Kaufman’s recollection in Breuer’s speech exposed the DOJ’s collateral consequence doctrine as a Trojan horse built by Wall Street while styled as a guideline to assist in responsible law enforcement. “Collateral consequences” is in fact a device for threatening Main Street as a means for avoiding indictment. It’s no more than a veneer of legalese to cloak the displacement of American law by the will of global banks which freely issued threats to immunize their crimes. That Kaufman ridiculed the consequences that compelled Breuer not to prosecute only goes to the credibility of the threats and highlights the fact that those threats were made and understood. One must ask then why Breuer turned his conference room into a launch pad for those threats and how it jibes with his sworn duty to defend the targets of those threats against all enemies. It is here that the line between criminal and cop gets eradicated completely.
Breuer: And in deciding how you are going to pursue an institution you have to at least evaluate whether or not innocent people might lose jobs or there might be some sort of collateral event.
Narrator: It’s simply impossible to tell whether Breuer had received a threat or was issuing one on behalf of UBS. On Frontline, however, Breuer changed his story about who was issuing opinions on collateral consequences. Magically, the global bank simply vanished.
Reporter: Is that really the job of a prosecutor to worry about anything other than simply pursuing justice?
Breuer: Well I think I am pursuing justice and I think the entire responsibility of the department is to pursue justice but in any given case I think I and prosecutors around the country being responsible should speak to regulators, should speak to experts, because if I bring a case against Institution A and as a result of bringing that case there’s some huge economic effect, if it creates a ripple effect such that suddenly counterparties or other financial institutions or other companies that had nothing to do with this are affected badly, it’s a fact that we need to know and understand.
Narrator: Breuer’s discomfort with his own speech was so extreme that he invented regulators out of thin air to divert attention away from the Wall Street advocates who had actually compelled him not to prosecute. Either way, Breuer had told another bald-faced lie; either he lied to the New York City Bar Association by saying it was Wall Street advocates and their opinions that compelled him not to prosecute, or he had lied to the public on TV by shifting that responsibility to regulators. Breuer announced his resignation from the DOJ the day after “The Untouchables” aired. He went back to Covington and Burling where a $4 million per year paycheck was waiting for him.
Part 3: The Cover-Up
Narrator: After national outrage over “The Untouchables” forced Lanny Breuer to step down, Congress began investigating the source of the DOJ’s collateral consequences opinions. Though the investigation was largely done for show, simply going through the motions was more than enough to reveal that Breuer’s “regulators” were a total fabrication. A real investigation would have looked much different. The carefully crafted subpoena, for instance, would have produced the sources of the DOJ’s “collateral consequences” opinions more or less immediately. A real investigation would have exposed Congress’s biggest donors as criminal institutions that threaten Main Street to elevate themselves above the law, so Congress pretended not to know about Breuer’s speech and sought the identities of fictitious regulators.
In its made for TV story, the outcome was predictable. Not a single document nor any regulator’s name or the first shred of any evidence at all ever turned up. Breuer had simply made up the fake regulators, just like he made up fake legal requirements for proving fraud. In reality, Lanny Breuer didn’t prosecute because he put the desires of his firm’s criminal banking clients before the laws he swore to uphold, and he lied as much as necessary to hide this fact. The fly in Breuer’s ointment was his New York City Bar speech flatly admitting that global banks routinely compel them not to prosecute. Not surprisingly then, the DOJ lied about Lanny Breuer’s speech too, falsely denying each and every one of its many incriminating elements. Before “The Untouchables”, the DOJ had admitted it was frequently on the receiving end of collateral consequences presentations from banks, which had compelled it not to prosecute. After this revelation blew up in the DOJ’s face on “The Untouchables”, however, the DOJ lied and said it was unaware of its meetings with the banks. What is so astonishing about the DOJ’s lie about its history of bank meetings is that it is almost a carbon copy of the very speech that it’s so desperate to run away from.
History was not the only thing that the DOJ changed with its about-face, however. It also swapped witnesses for the congressional hearing one week later. Before the DOJ falsely denied Breuer’s speech, the House had designated James Cole to testify. Cole was a deputy attorney general under Eric Holder but as soon as the DOJ denied its frequent meetings with the banks, it replaced Cole with a lower-ranking Mythili Raman, an underling of Lanny Breuer.
Raman was a 17-year DOJ veteran and assistant head of the Criminal Division. She had worked closely with Breuer on cases like Medicare fraud. It was her job to explain the DOJ’s collateral consequences doctrine and to identify the regulators who had provided opinions. Raman was unable to testify for more than a half-dozen paragraphs before she started lying.
Mythili Raman: The consideration of collateral consequences on innocent third parties, like the other factors we must consider when determining whether and how to proceed against a corporation, has been required by the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual since 2008.
Narrator: That testimony is false — the 2008 U.S. Attorneys’ Manual contains a number of factors that prosecutors could consider when deciding whether to indict a corporation. Contrary to Raman’s testimony, prosecutors are only permitted, never required, to consider collateral consequences. In other words, “collateral consequences” is merely an optional consideration, not mandatory as Raman falsely testified. The manual reserves mandatory language only for the most critical duties of a prosecutor like punishing crime. A prosecutor’s duty to enforce the law requires the investigation and prosecution of criminal wrongdoing. But Raman lied about this too.
Mr. Rothfus: My question to you is this: Does any national law enforcement policy mandate prosecution of financial crimes, despite a company’s cooperation or the presence of other mitigating factors?
Ms. Raman: I don’t believe it’s fair to say “mandated”…
Narrator: Congress didn’t find it the least bit strange that tending to the health of criminal banks is mandatory for prosecutors while indicting criminals is optional. This speaks as much to the corruption of Congress as it does to the outrageousness of DOJ lies concealing its takeover by global banks. As to the names of the fake regulators, Raman tried to use unidentified ongoing investigations to falsely imply that the regulators are real but that their names are some big secret. Only a follow-up question forced her to admit that in all prior investigations spanning four years there’s not a shred of evidence that any regulators actually exist. Raman’s nervousness during this exchange is as telling as the body language of the man over her right shoulder.
Mr. Rothfus: Can you please identify the regulators by name whom you are contacting in this small sliver of cases to which you are referring?
Ms. Raman: I understand the committee’s interest in this. And I hope that the committee understands that I am extremely limited in what I can say about open investigations and cases that are currently in litigation. We have several cases that are currently in litigation, and so…
Mr. Rothfus: Are there any cases where you have actually closed the investigation?
Ms. Raman: I know that our staff at the Department, at the committee’s request, has done some good faith searches in connection with the request of this committee for that kind of information. And my understanding is that in closed cases, we have not identified the kinds of documents — in certain — keeping in mind that the searches were limited, in which systemic risk was a factor in those decisions.
Narrator: Raman’s failure to name a single regulator or find even one email or calendar entry arises from the fact that the DOJ flat-out lied about consulting with regulators. It never happened. But Raman did succeed in concealing the truth, which is that all of the DOJ’s collateral consequences opinions came from the banks, just as her boss Lanny Breuer had admitted. Breuer of course had returned to private practice at Covington and Burling. And less than a year after she testified Mythili Raman ended her 18-year DOJ career to join him. They were later joined by Eric Holder when he stepped down as attorney general. The trio’s failures at the DOJ tell us much but not everything. Raman could not identify any collateral consequences regulators because there never were any. Breuer couldn’t point to any Wall Street investigations because there weren’t any of those either. And thus Holder can’t point to any prosecution of global banks despite their astonishing litany of admitted crimes. And yet all three insisted that the DOJ looked hard at cases of criminal fraud. One must wonder what they had in mind.
This brings us to their partner, Daniel Suleiman, and back to Goldman Sachs. In May 2013, Suleiman was returning to Covington from the Department of Justice. “I was lucky enough to convince Dan over two and a half years ago to join me at the Department of Justice”, Breuer said, “and now that I am back at Covington and Burling, I was doubly thrilled to convince Dan yet again to join me”. Despite the fact that Suleiman had never prosecuted so much as a parking ticket, Breuer installed him as the co-leader of the phony investigation of Goldman Sachs.
Suleiman claimed after an entire year spent looking at his law firm’s own client that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. This of course begs the question of what efforts (if any) Suleiman undertook to obtain evidence in the first place because his superiors make it clear that there were none.
Ms. Raman: The collateral consequences of a conviction is a factor that we can and do consider from time to time, in certain cases when we decide to pursue an investigation.
Narrator: Raman’s admission that the DOJ looked at collateral consequences to decide whether to investigate buttresses Martin Smith’s most incriminating disclosure that the DOJ failed to investigate at all.
Martin Smith: We spoke to a couple of sources from within the criminal division and they reported that when it came to Wall Street there were no investigations going on, there were no subpoenas, no document reviews, no wiretaps.
Narrator: What’s more, when Raman testified in May 2013, the Senate’s comprehensive investigation of Wall Street had been complete for over two years and yet there had been no collateral consequences to speak of. This exposes the DOJ’s pretense that investigations would destabilize the financial system as nonsense. The DOJ’s stability excuse is so patently absurd in fact that not even a former senator could refrain from openly mocking it on national television.
Ted Kaufman: Lots of people on Wall Street said what do you do when you’re trying to destroy the banks, there’s no crime up here, we didn’t commit any crimes, there’s no reason to come up here and start talking about crimes plus we’re very very fragile and you know something could happen if in fact you start talking about crime, which was just totally completely ridiculous.
Part 4: All Hail America’s Criminal King
Narrator: This brings us back to the question that Congress and the full spectrum of media outlets manage never to ask: so which banks were in Breuer’s conference room? It’s far from an idle question. These banks asserted and were granted criminal immunity, which is the legal privilege of kings. In the U.S. — as we know from Watergate — no one with the possible exception of the sitting president is immune from criminal prosecution.
In 1973, the Justice Department researched the legal issue which was headed for the Supreme Court before being mooted by Nixon’s resignation. The heft of scholarly opinion is that sovereign immunity has no place in American law. The Federalist papers, however, repeatedly note that criminal proceedings can go forward after the president has left office, never addressing the case of the sitting president. On this basis, Nixon’s DOJ concluded that the sitting president and no one else, not even the vice president, is immune from criminal prosecution.
Either way, the DOJ has proved beyond all doubt through its own words and backed up through an unbroken record of failure that global banks are immune from prosecution. They obtain that immunity simply by decreeing it to Lanny Breuer, who by his own admission acquiesced in a DOJ conference room. In so doing, Breuer acted on behalf of the very foreign and domestic enemies that he swore to defend the country against.
So who are America’s real sovereigns or criminal kings? An unremitting campaign of lies and deception by the Justice Department kept this a secret for too many years, but no more. Last year DOJ personnel let the cat out of the bag when responding to a Freedom of Information Act request that sought documentation of the banks on Breuer’s calendar. Just one document turned up — a meeting notice that went out from Breuer to Goldman Sachs and Breuer’s team at the DOJ. The meeting took place after Goldman learned that the SEC was preparing a case for securities fraud. While the names of Goldman’s people are redacted, the names of the DOJ lawyers are not.
Breuer’s choice of attendees is revealing. Breuer and Raman, of course, are partners at Covington and Burling — Goldman’s law firm. Steve Fagel and Greg Andres also have private professional connections to Goldman Sachs. Fagel, like Raman and Breuer, is at Covington as well. Greg Andres, while not at Covington, represents Goldman Sachs in his own right. His name surfaced in a story about his wife, the judge in a wrongful termination case involving Goldman Sachs. The judge ruled in Goldman’s favor after revealing that Andres, her husband, was actively counseling Goldman as its lawyer. When the plaintiff asked for more information about the nature of Andres’s affiliation with Goldman, the judge dismissed the case.
The timing of the DOJ’s meeting with Goldman reveals as much as the rosters of Goldman-affiliated lawyers on both sides of the table. The meeting took place just weeks before Lloyd Blankfein presented two bogus legal defenses to the Senate. It’s therefore distinctly possible that Blankfein was parroting Breuer and not the other way around. When Breuer trotted out Blankfein’s legal defenses in the Senate, in other words falsely claiming that they were the law, he wasn’t parroting Blankfein at all — he was quoting himself. It’s next to impossible that the topic of collateral consequences didn’t come up at the meeting. For one thing Breuer told the New York City Bar Association that global banks frequently brought the topic up in his conference room and this email is the only document evidencing that admission.
For another, Blankfein resorted to sham legal defenses because Goldman didn’t have any real ones. And yet the DOJ didn’t prosecute or even investigate Goldman Sachs for criminal fraud. The lack of any investigation, according to Raman’s testimony, is exactly what can happen when collateral consequences gets into the equation. Notably, six months after Goldman met with the DOJ to discuss the Anti-Fraud Task Force, Daniel Suleiman joined the DOJ not only as co-leader of the sham Goldman investigation but as a leader of the very same task force discussed at the meeting.
There is one last thing, too. Collateral consequences, unlike some other meeting topic, explains the DOJ’s implication that the law could change so as to indict Goldman Sachs. That outcome runs roughshod over the constitutional prohibition of ex post facto laws and is a fair indication that it wasn’t in force. There are two ways that could have been the case. One way would have been to amend the Constitution by convention or vote to allow ex post facto laws. But there was no amendment, which leaves the second way, and that would have been an overthrow of the Constitution by coup d’état. In a coup d’état, a person or group intent on seizing power commits criminal acts to overthrow the legitimate sovereign.
While many overthrows take place out in the open and there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind about what’s happened, a coup is much easier to pull off behind closed doors. The mark of a coup isn’t the openness of defiance. That actually has nothing to do with it. The sign of a coup is the illegality of acts by those in close proximity to sovereign power and their false claims about sovereign authority.
The supremacy of law over human authority is what drove the Declaration of Independence, giving rise to the entire American legal system. A coup in the U.S. would thus find America subverted at her very roots with the equivalent of a king replacing law as the supreme power. This inverted power structure rears its head in the DOJ’s exoneration, which speaks of the law like it’s a nose of wax. The tell is the phrase, “the law as this time” — it reflects a British legal truism the colonists found revolting, namely that the king can do no wrong. Among other things it means that the king is immune from the rules that bind everyone else. A king though, unlike a constitution, is mortal and the scope of the law under a king changes, by definition, the minute his reign comes to its inevitable end.
The DOJ statement that “the law at this time” doesn’t support Goldman’s indictment reflects the so-called law under mortal human power. American constitutional law, by contrast, doesn’t hinge on a heartbeat and the qualifier is totally out of place. The DOJ’s exoneration is far from the only tell that in America the rule of law is dead. The DOJ has countless admissions that “collateral consequences” immunizes global banks but no one else puts the matter beyond dispute. Mythili Raman often bragged that “collateral consequences” is never extended to individuals facing prosecution.
Ms. Raman: Individuals are — when we prosecute individuals and make decisions about that, collateral consequences don’t ever get into the equation.
Narrator: For criminal global banks like Goldman Sachs, not only do collateral consequences get into the equation, they get into DOJ conference rooms filled with the bank’s lawyers working temp assignments at the DOJ. The red carpet assembly then overthrows a legal system in a one-hour ceremony in which DOJ officials deemed criminal threats from their private practice clients superior to their country’s laws.
The New York Times was unable to spin Breuer’s email and was forced to ignore what it actually says. Instead, the expressly stated meeting topic was the president’s new anti-fraud task force but the Times reported based on an anonymous source that the meeting was about terrorism. As it happens, that’s accurate — the Times just left out the terrorists’ names…allow us:
(The narration ends here as music plays in the background while photos of the “Global Bank Syndicate” members are labeled, after which the credits are displayed at the end of the video.)