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DOJ lawyer Michael Sherwin was right to discuss Capitol riots on '60 Minutes' interview

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Michael Sherwin probably did not expect his brief tenure as U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C. — capped by leading one of the largest federal criminal investigations in history — to implode quite so publicly, or to end in an investigation into ethical misconduct.

But that is what happened last week after CBS’ “60 Minutes” aired an interview with him on March 21 about the investigation into the siege on the U.S. Capitol. Sherwin had been appointed as acting U.S. attorney by Attorney General William Barr in May. He was stepping down at the time of the interview to return to his old job as a line attorney in Miami.

Over the course of the interview, Sherwin talked about the investigation generally and touched on a small number of seemingly controversial issues, including the potential for sedition charges. This immediately prompted backlash among former federal prosecutors — particularly after it was reported by CNN that Sherwin had supposedly not received “prior approval” from more senior officials in the department before sitting for the interview.

Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Department of Justice on January 12, 2021.

One former prosecutor called it “flat out improper,” another said that leadership should be “infuriated,” and one of Robert Mueller’s former deputies in the Trump-Russia investigation — Andrew Weissmann, himself the author of a tell-all book that drew similar criticism — said that Sherwin had “jeopardized these important cases by grandstanding for the press.” (Disclosure: I had a small number of professional interactions with Sherwin while I worked at the department on an investigation with his office.)



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