Reviews for Holding The Line

by Geoffrey Berman

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York dishes on the corrupt Trump administration. “One of the things you learn as a prosecutor is that there are a surprising number of people in the world who enjoy talking like mobsters when they’re behind closed doors,” writes prosecutor Berman in a memoir whose every page touches still-fresh headlines. One of those people was Berman’s former boss Donald Trump. The author, who describes himself as a “Rockefeller Republican,” came into office by means familiar to Trump watchers as, he suspects, a compromise candidate in a power struggle between Chris Christie and Jared Kushner, with Rudy Giuliani in a corner position. It was politics from Day 1, from trying to retain independence in the Mueller investigation to the prosecution of former Trump counsel Michael Cohen. The latter had a denouement in Berman and associates’ subsequent probe into possible campaign finance violations, when newly installed Attorney General Bill Barr “not only tried to kill the ongoing investigations but—incredibly—suggested that Cohen’s conviction on campaign finance charges be reversed.” Thereafter, Berman writes, he was in constant struggle against Barr, who, “always eager to please his boss, appeared to be doing Trump’s bidding” by interfering in matters such as a census question on citizenship or hijinks on the part of wealthy allies of Turkey’s president, a pal of Trump’s until he wasn’t. Jeffrey Epstein, Michael Avenatti, and Steve Bannon are among the many villains of this book, but Barr is the worst of the lot: instead of protecting the Constitution, he “was looking for clever, invisible ways to let Trump undermine our rule of law.” Barr finally fired Berman by press release, and this book stands not just as a compelling look at how justice works, but also as a fine specimen of sweet revenge. An instructive, highly readable account of the law, its protectors, and its enemies. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.