Assistant Attorney General Admits On TV That In The US Justice Does Not Apply To The Banks

Tyler Durden's picture

Those who watched Frontline's special on why nobody has been prosecuted on Wall Street titled appropriately "The Untouchables" didn't learn much new. The rehash of ideas presented is what has been well known for years - namely that when it comes to prosecuting Wall Street criminals nothing will ever happen, because as Bill Gross tweeted " Its not Republican in politics. Its not Dem in politics. Its money in politics" and all the money in politics comes from Wall Street, which happens to be the ultimate ruler of the United States of America, pushing levers here and pulling stringer there to give the impression the constitutional republic is still alive. It isn't - this country has become an unchecked despotism of those in charge of money creation and who control capital - just the thing Andrew Jackson warned against. One thing we did learn, was courtesy of Assistant Attorney General Lenny Breuer who made it very clear that when it comes to the concept of justice the banks are and always have been "more equal" than others. He does so in such shocking clarity and enthusiasm that it is a miracle that this person is still employed by the US Department of Justice.

To wit from the transcript:

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.




MARTIN SMITH: Is that really the job of a prosecutor, to worry about anything other than simply pursuing justice?


LANNY 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 so that suddenly, counterparties and other financial institutions or other companies that had nothing to do with this are affected badly — it’s a factor we need to know and understand.

In other words, no criminal charges can be levied against anyone who engaged in the crimes leading to the great financial crisis of 2008 because, get this, the implications of pursuing justice may have destabilizing implications!

In other words, the banker threat of Mutual Assured Destruction has metastasized from the legislative, where in 2008 Hank Paulson demanded a blank check from Congress to spend it on whatever he wishes, "or else...", and has fully taken over the Judicial, where there is Justice for all... and no "Justice" for those who are systemically important.

Ted Kaufman summarizes:

TED KAUFMAN: That was very disturbing to me, very disturbing. That was never raised at any time during any of our discussions. That is not the job of a prosecutor, to worry about the health of the banks, in my opinion. Job of the prosecutors is to prosecute criminal behavior. It’s not to lie awake at night and kind of decide the future of the banks.

Alas Ted, it appears it is.

Frontline's conclusion was perfectly expected: "to date, not one senior Wall Street executive has been held
criminally liable by the Department of Justice for activities related to
the financial crisis

We now know why: it is because of people like this:

Lanny A. Breuer was unanimously confirmed as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division on April 20, 2009.
As head of the Criminal Division, Mr. Breuer oversees nearly 600 attorneys who prosecute federal criminal cases across the country and help develop the criminal law. He also works closely with the nation’s 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in connection with the investigation and prosecution of criminal matters in their districts. Mr. Breuer is a national leader on a range of federal law enforcement priorities, including financial fraud, health care fraud, public corruption, and violence along the Southwest Border. He has also been a leading voice on policy issues related to criminal law enforcement, including the scope of prosecutors’ discovery obligations in federal criminal cases and sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine offenses. Mr. Breuer regularly testifies before Congress on the Administration’s policy initiatives and advises the Attorney General and the White House on matters of criminal law.  Mr. Breuer also serves as the Department's representative on the Atrocities Prevention Board, which President Obama announced in April 2012.  For his work as Assistant Attorney General, the National Law Journal named Mr. Breuer a "Visionary" in the Washington, D.C. legal community, and he was recently ranked sixth on Ethisphere’s list of The 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics.


Mr. Breuer began his legal career in 1985 as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, where he prosecuted violent crime, such as armed robbery and gang violence, white collar crime, and other offenses. In 1989, he joined the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP, where he worked until 1997, when he joined the White House Counsel’s Office as Special Counsel to President William Jefferson Clinton. As Special Counsel, Mr. Breuer assisted in defending President Clinton in the Senate impeachment trial.


Mr. Breuer returned to Covington in 1999 as co-chair of the White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group, where he specialized in white collar criminal defense and complex civil litigation and represented individuals and corporations in matters involving high-stakes legal risks. He also vice-chaired the firm’s Public Service Committee. At Covington, Mr. Breuer developed a reputation as one of the top defense lawyers in the country.

Full Frontline episode for those who missed it:

Watch The Untouchables on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

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world_debt_slave's picture

A villain can smile and smile at you and still be a villain.

Non Passaran's picture

What a douche. Perfect for the government!

Cursive's picture

Well, by that logic, don't prosecute anyone because it all has a ripple effect.  You would sentence a man to life if he has a wife and four hungry children to provide for?  Why, of course not....makes total sense.

DaveyJones's picture

Exactly. This shit is happening at lower levels too. Just recently, a fair to do attorney in my jurisdiction was arrested for serial raping a number of women. Some of them were non citizen chinese. I actually knew the guy vaguely cause I knew his wife who is still a prosecutor. Authorities then found out that she (the prosecutor) had actually moved his car (obstructing and an few other crimes). At the same time, they found another victim and charged him with yet another count. Then, at the same time again, the court actually LOWERED his bail as his well to do attorney argued for electronic home monitoring because that they had trouble "accessing him" 24/7 because he was in custody. I asked friends still in the prosecutors office (1) why the hell they didn't argue to the court that on that logic, all those guys in custody with a public defender have an even better argument for release (2) how in the hell could you lower the bail with a prosecutor wife under criminal investigation and a new rape victim and (3) why the hell they have not yet charged the wife who has openly admitted to moving the car and hiding that fact from authorities. THis is the largest city in this state and I have seen this type of political shit before but it is getting worse.     

MachoMan's picture

This is why the media is so important, but its academic function has been usurped for purely entertainment and propaganda purposes.  [we can debate whether it was ever different in reality, but that's another topic].  Part of moral hazard is that it creates opportunity costs...  in this case, shedding light on the truth and administering justice...  In other words, if I get to spend my day working 2 jobs instead of one to keep up with inflation, then I don't have time to give a fuck about politics...  likewise, if I accept government handouts, then I'm eternally conflicted from being politically active about virtually any injustice.  It's how moral hazard saturates everything.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Cursive said:

Well, by that logic, don't prosecute anyone because it all has a ripple effect.

That about says it all, doesn't it?

By its very nature, law (IANAL) is intended to have effects, and effects are always going to produce ripple effects. Failure to enforce any given law does not remove the effects of that law, it changes the effects. The law still produces ripple effects, which have been changed as well.

A couple of things from the page about Mr. Breuer on the "justice".gov site should be dead giveaways:

For his work as Assistant Attorney General, the National Law Journal named Mr. Breuer a "Visionary" in the Washington, D.C. legal community,

...due to the precision and skill he employs when drilling made-to-order loopholes through legal structures of all types,

and he was recently ranked sixth on Ethisphere’s list of The 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics.

I suppose it can be said that Pol Pot could have been considered one of the most influential people in human rights.

MFLTucson's picture

Need to get rid of the Federal Reserve and it will not happen with these politicians running this country, must happen with a revolt by the taxpayers against this government and its cronies.  Take down the Rothschild’s and this whole Jewish charade and that is why their puppet wants your guns. Wake up America!!

HegelianDialectic's picture

The not so invisible hand of collectivism

busted by the bailout's picture

This is another ramification of the moral hazard of TBTF.


All banks are equal in the eyes of the law, but some banks are more equal than others.


Racer's picture

So if the law doesn't apply to them why should it apply to me?

waterhorse's picture

"It's a big club and you (and me) ain't in it."  - George Carlin

yrbmegr's picture

That's one interpretation.  There are other, less hysterical, interpretations.

Mercury's picture

In other words:

We're cool with crime if the criminal is big enough.

And that ladies and gents is the essence of Too Big To Fail as far as the government is concerned.

You may have noticed that most of the important things you rely on in your daily life are made or provided by fewer and fewer, larger and larger companies as the government has also become larger and larger.


 Connect the dots.


MsCreant's picture

There is a bigger uglier truth here. What dude is saying is that we are all dependent on the criminal cartel for our lifestyles. We better let them do business the way they do it, or else!

"...I've seen the needle and the damage done,

A little part of it in everyone one..."

(Neil Young)

DaveyJones's picture

the needle is dirty and bent, the drug is stronger, and most of us are being stabbed in our sleep. Good to see you MsC 

MsCreant's picture

U2. Not Bono. ;-)

Ever fantasize about prosecuting them yourself? 

Mercury's picture

Actually I think the key part of that analogy is:

'Cuz every junky's like a setting sun

MsCreant's picture

Debated posting that line. Agree.

Al Huxley's picture

Fucking great - so all I have to do is get myself into a situation where 'enough people depend on me' and then I can do whatever the fuck I want?  Never mind - of course the answer is a resounding 'YES'.  Fuck them all, I doubt they'll ever get what they deserve, but I'd sure like to see it happen, sure like to be reacquainted with the concept of justice and 'crime leads to punishment, regardless of how much fucking money you have' at some point in my life.  Or at least return to PRETENDING for fuck sake.  I'm pretty sure the super wealthy have always been defacto above the law, but at least they used to be a little more fucking discreet about it.

you enjoy myself's picture

in the same vein, Lanny's answer begs a couple of follow-up hypotheticals doesn't it?  could one of the major banks run a child prostitution ring too, and not be prosecuted?  because their derivative book would've still been the same size, and caused the same counterparty damage.  or, to take a less ridiculous example, could a bank have a deliberate practice of stealing nominal amounts from client accounts each month, and still never get prosecuted?   why isn't Lanny asked to enumerate what the banks could possibly do to actually get prosecuted? 

DaveyJones's picture

they are running a child prostitution ring

they are truly sold out

Miles Kendig's picture

And human trafficking, weapons trafficking, murder for hire, facilitating criminal organizations operations .. yadda  yadda yadda

Hey Davey, there's a pool on if Judge Colleen McMahon has kept her decision robes under plastic as her special servicing Bill Clinton for the appointment memento.  Ya want in?

DaveyJones's picture

very good to see you miles. I don't "want in" on anything to do with the Clintons. Just the phrase makes me reach for penicillin

Miles Kendig's picture


Hadta offer, even if it's some stenches from the trenches humor captured in the midst of lancing and draining these rancid cysts.

Great to catch ya too Davey

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"they are running a child prostitution ring"

Yes they are. For at least 30 years. What, you didn't hear about it?

WillyGroper's picture

My elected US Rep's qualifications for attaining office were that he was the administrator for a Baptist church camp. His soap box mission is human trafficking as he's stated repeatedly. Suppose he's trying to stop it, or support it?

topspinslicer's picture

the bigger the evil the better

topspinslicer's picture

maybe the entire system NEEDS TO COLLAPSE

Glass Seagull's picture



Son of Loki's picture

'Why steal less when you can steal more.'


Old Confucious saying

Al Huxley's picture

In fact, if you're going to steal, make sure you steal AS MUCH AS FUCKING POSSIBLE.  'Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal alot and they make you a king.'

j-dub's picture

In 3 other breaking news stories, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is a piece of shit, the sky remains blue and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is a piece of shit.

waterhorse's picture

The breaking news I watched this morning had to do with Bieber's latest tweet, a rehash of Michelle Obama's designer dress, how the housing market is absolutely booming and rabbitting on about the 49ers and the Kings.  No news on white collar crime.  I watch the local news when I get ready for work to see what the weather will be and not much else.  I'm beginning to agree with my husband though,  he says if I want to know what the weather will be, just look outside.  The "news" just irritates the hell out of me anymore.

Tsunami Wave's picture

Uhhh I think you forgot to mention something: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is a piece of shit.

caimen garou's picture

guess we all need to become bankers so we can do what the fuck we want, run whore houses, smuggle guns,take peoples bank accounts, destroy economies, run governments,hell the list goes on and on.

j-dub's picture

I got no problem with whore houses. None.


Ahhm.......for the record

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

socialism communism  capitalism or any other you can name...crimeism is still king...the one reason I know this system comes burning down is simple no justice no peace

augustus caesar's picture

Rule of Law is the foundation of civilization. There is no social contract without it, only despotism.


Winston Churchill's picture

All true, but is Snookie going to spawn another brat ?

ParkAveFlasher's picture

Forget Snookie, how many days until pitchers and catchers report?  What did Rex Ryan just do?  Who's in the Super Bowl?  Who won the Oscars?  How much Apple stock can I buy?

Al Huxley's picture

That's the word I was looking for.

masaccio's picture

The amazing part is that this blanket immunity extends to bank employees. The sniveling wimp Breuer explained that he could never prove that any bank employee intended to launder drug or terrorist money, or to sell bogus securities or to cheat anyone.

Even Eric Schneiderman, a man with little courage, admits that the intent issue is bogus.

Winston Churchill's picture

Schneiderman,that joke ?

I've delivered written evidence of ongoing fraud in RMBS to him ,and nothing happens.

Been bought and paid for, like all our elected officials everywhere.

waterhorse's picture

He's just like the turncoat AG, Tom Miller, who once promised a harsh crackdown on the banksters and ended up fellating them instead.

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

So by the same logic hookers should not go to jail because it means many men will need to forego getting laid.