President Donald Trump asked then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to persuade the Justice Department to drop charges against a client of Rudy Giuliani in 2017, according to a report by Bloomberg News late Wednesday. The client, Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, was being prosecuted for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, and Turkey s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sought his release. Tillerson refused to intervene, Bloomberg reported, saying it would be illegal interference in a prosecution. Tillerson reportedly complained to then-White House chief of staff John Kelly, and the Justice Department apparently never considered dropping the charges. The report is likely to fuel criticism of Trump s dealings with Erdogan and other autocrats, and adds to a number of serious allegations of improper conduct and potentially impeachable offenses.
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