John R. Bolton

Trump administration pressured federal prosecutors to settle investigation into Turkish bank – TheHill

According to people briefed on the proposal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked Trump to bring an end to an investigation into Halkbank over accusations of giving billions of dollars in gold and cash to Iran.

The Times reported that in a June 2019 meeting with Geoffrey Berman, the then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Attorney General William Barr asked Berman to allow the bank to avoid the indictment by instead paying a fine.

Barr also reportedly asked Berman to end the investigation into the bank.

Turkish Bank Case Showed Erdogan’s Influence With Trump – New York Times

Turkey had mounted an elaborate influence campaign in Washington to deal with Halkbank. It predated Mr. Trump’s election but came to encompass a broad cast of players, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor; Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser; and Brian D. Ballard, a lobbyist and fund-raiser for the president.

After senior Turkish government officials lobbied Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Mr. Trump, Mr. Mnuchin pressed the Justice Department not to impose too large a fine on Halkbank because Turkey could not afford it, two federal officials said. Mr. Mnuchin’s office declined to comment on Halkbank but added that the Treasury and Justice Departments “routinely consult and coordinate” on sanctions cases and fines.

Mr. Bolton and others said they could not fully explain why Mr. Trump seemed so determined to please Mr. Erdogan.