Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
Someone who is down on Brooklyn
Marc Mukasey, who lives in Manhattan, has been seeking the post of U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, based in Brooklyn, because he thought Preet Bharara had a promise from President Donald Trump to stay in the Southern District job in Manhattan.
But after the Friday firings of both top federal prosecutors in the metro region, Mukasey is pushing for the prestigious Southern District post, and his biggest advocate is Rudy Giuliani. The former mayor and big Trump supporter, who actually made his reputation as the Southern District prosecutor, now practices law with Mukasey in a private firm and has introduced him to Trump.
In the fallout from the Bharara firing, it’s possible that one of the top contenders to be U.S. attorney in Brooklyn is no longer interested in commuting to Cadman Plaza.
Does de Blasio win or lose without Bharara?
Republican Paul Massey launched his official bid for NYC mayor Monday morning in a race that got more interesting over the weekend because of a more prominent New Yorker: Preet Bharara.
Bharara’s firing as U.S. attorney for the Southern District grabbed international headlines, but could have very local consequences. Among the investigations Bharara was wrapping up was a probe into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising.
Will that investigation be completed soon under Bharara’s deputy? Or will a Republican use any dirt Bharara dug up to make de Blasio’s life miserable?
The complications could provide a lifeline for Massey, who isn’t well-known in NYC. Another pipe dream for the challenger: a mayoral run by Bharara. There’s time: Petitioning to get on a ballot doesn’t start until June, which is also the deadline to join the city’s matching-funds program, according to Campaign Finance Board spokesman Matt Sollars.
The Bhararas have properties listed in Manhattan and Scarsdale, and state law requires residence in NYC only by Election Day.
Maybe that’s why the real estate-mogul-turned-president called Bharara last Thursday: to help with an apartment search.
Guess he didn’t win...
All of Long Island’s schools are closed Tuesday, not unexpected, of course, but actually surprising that it even took until midday Monday for the list of closings to be finalized. Or that Mayor Bill de Blasio beat many of the suburban districts to the punch when he took to Twitter at 11:06 a.m. to make his announcement.
In so doing, he bucked a long-standing mayoral tradition of waiting until the last minute. The decision, which a spokesman characterized to The Point as “unusually early,” came just a month after de Blasio closed the schools in the late afternoon of the day before an oncoming storm.
Snow days used to be exceedingly rare in New York City. When the decision was made to close schools, it was usually done in the early morning hours, leaving parents to scramble to find child care or other backup plans.
De Blasio has had a rocky history with snow and school. In 2014, after he was criticized for keeping schools open when a foot of snow fell, de Blasio defended the choice. “It’s a different thing to run a city than to give the weather on TV,” de Blasio said then. He added, “If you … guaranteed me a foot of snow between midnight and 6 a.m., I would guarantee you I’d close school.”
Perhaps on Monday, the mayor got his guarantee. Forecasts suggest that the city will be among the areas hit hardest, and could get as much as two feet. So is it that he now has more reliable data? Or does the mayor, who’s up for re-election this year, not want to give parents — who now have time to make arrangements for their school-less children — something to be angry about?
Randi F. Marshall
-- It’s March Madness, the month for underdogs, dreamers and bracket busters everywhere. Anybody have the Republican health care plan going all the way?
-- There is one unfortunate thing about Sen. John McCain’s demand that President Donald Trump provide proof of his claim that former President Barack Obama tapped Trump Tower phones or retract it: The demand didn’t come from GOP leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. But that would have required, you know, leadership.
-- People are raging that Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King finally crossed the line between controversial and racist when he tweeted, “We can’t restore civilization with somebody else’s babies.” As if he hadn’t crossed the line last year when he said white people have contributed more to civilization than “any other subgroup.”
-- What to do about the blizzard arriving Tuesday, six days before spring? Fire the groundhogs.
-- Tom Cotton, Susan Collins, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Jim Jordan and John Kasich are all over the map politically and they’re all opposing the GOP’s American Health Care Act. It’s another Donald Trump campaign promise come true: Trump, the unifier.
-- White House budget director Mick Mulvaney’s claim that the Obama administration manipulated data to make the unemployment rate appear smaller than it was shows he’s fitting right in — making an outrageous accusation with absolutely no proof.