Has Donald Trump done his media bestie Rupert Murdoch a favour by getting rid of the aggressive Preet Bharara, federal prosecutor for South Manhattan, who was fired last week by the US Justice Department in a purge of 46 remaining federal prosecutors appointed by the Obama administration? Bharara was fired by Trump as a federal grand jury in Manhattan South deepens a probe into the sexual harassment claims at Fox News Channel, which is owned by the Murdoch family’s 39% controlled 21st Century Fox.
The investigation by the Justice Department and a grand jury has been going on since last September and follows the ousting of Roger Ailes as head of Fox News over numerous claims of sexual harassment. Ailes is close to Trump, as is Rupert Murdoch, who sat in on the first interview Trump gave to foreign newspapers in January, including the Murdoch family-controlled Times of London. As well, Ivanka Trump (the Donald’s daughter) was a long-time trustee for Wendi Deng’s two daughters (the second last Mrs Rupert Murdoch) on the key Murdoch Family Trust. The Murdoch-controlled Fox News Channel is the biggest media backer of Trump and has been for nearly two years. Rupert Murdoch took over Fox News after Ailes was ousted, and remains the CEO.
Overnight, The New York Times reported on the background to the Ailes probe and the link to the sacking of Bharara (who said he had been told by Trump earlier this year that he could stay on in his role).
The Times reports that one possible successor to Bharara is lawyer Marc L. Mukasey, a former prosecutor who now works in white-collar criminal defense. “As it happens, Mr. Mukasey has represented Roger E. Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News, who has long had a mogul-to-mogul relationship with Mr. Trump,” The Times points out. — Glenn Dyer