Two weeks later, in mid-December 2018, Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan spoke by telephone. The president started by assuring Mr. Erdogan that the federal government and Halkbank had been near a decision, and Mr. Erdogan expressed his appreciation, based on Mr. Bolton.
In Turkey round this time, Mr. Erdogan told reporters that Mr. Trump, in an earlier dialog about Halkbank, had assured him that Mr. Trump “would instruct the related ministers instantly” to handle the matter.
Mr. Bolton mentioned within the interview that his concern, as he listened to those conversations, was that Turkey and Halkbank now “had a direct channel within the Oval Workplace — they weren’t going to barter in good religion” with the prosecutors. “Why ought to they?”
Mr. Trump requested Mr. Bolton to talk with Mr. Whitaker, the performing lawyer normal on the time, concerning the case — a transfer Mr. Bolton mentioned he didn’t make, though he added that he didn’t know if another person from the White Home did.
On Dec. 14, the day of the phone name between Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Trump, the Justice Division notified the Southern District that Mr. Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the lawyer normal’s workplace would change into extra concerned within the Halkbank case, one Justice Division official mentioned.
The prosecutors in Manhattan had simply drafted a memo for Mr. Whitaker and Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy lawyer normal, detailing why the Justice Division ought to give them the authority to file felony costs in opposition to the financial institution, two legal professionals mentioned.
Mr. Rosenstein was satisfied that the proof was compelling, maybe much more so than in different sanctions-evasion circumstances during which the US had charged banks, legal professionals conversant in the investigation mentioned. The memo from the prosecutors additionally famous that the actions Halkbank was accused of taking had been serving to to help Iran’s economic system, which was antithetical to Mr. Trump’s overseas coverage purpose of tightening financial stress on the nation.