Is Trump “too big to fail?”

President-elect Donald7Trump has nominated his Attorney General, the charmless US Senator for Alabama, Jeff Sessions.

Sessions has previously been refused judicial office on the basis of past alleged racist utterances. It appears to be well documented that he once called a senior white lawyer “a disgrace” for representing black clients. It is not clear why Trump didn’t think this excluded Sessions outright from the position of senior law officer in the United States Government. No decent country should tolerate such a thing. This point will be made forcibly in confirmation hearings and his appointment may go no further.

But if it does, and if he takes up the role of Attorney General, one additional matter that will interest white collar lawyers is his attitude to corporate crime. In contrast to the prevailing ethos in the Obama administration, not only is he remarkably tough on drugs, he is also remarkably tough on companies that break the law.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on James Cole’s nomination as deputy to Attorney General Eric Holder took place on 15 June 2010. Senator Sessions gave Cole a roasting for his attitude on “Too big to fail”, quoting a speech Cole had made in 2006. “The experience with Arthur Andersen taught the Government something. The consequences were too drastic and hurt too many innocent employees. The Government now tries to work settlements with companies that find themselves in that kind of predicament…”.

Sessions’ comment on this was “It seems to go beyond strict enforcement of the law and try to preserve corporations who perhaps should be charged and suffer whatever consequences might result from their criminal acts”.

Cole defended his position by reference to the thousands of innocent employees and shareholders which might suffer in such circumstances, and went on to be confirmed by a largely Democrat Committee.

But consider this. The DOJ under Loretta Lynch has been pressing Deutsche Bank to pay a £14billion penalty. Donald Trump happens to owe Deutsche Bank over £300 million on various property deals, and it’s said no other bank is willing to extend him this kind of credit.

How will Trump and Sessions sort this one out?  Perhaps ‘too big to fail’ has life in it yet!

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