Preet Bharara Details Impeachment 'Nightmare Scenario' at L.A. Tech Summit

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, walked into the Upfront Summit tent in the middle of sunny and bright Pasadena Thursday morning and brought a hush over the crowd as he spoke passionately against President Donald Trump, urging the audience to go out and vote him out of office.

"I've come to a conclusion that whatever your specific issue you care about, for your family and the world is, the No. 1 way to get there in nine months is to have a different president," Bharara said." So don't forget the forest for the trees, think about that in November."


Bharara was fired by Trump months into his term after he refused to step down when then-Attorney General asked him to. He's since become an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and hosts his own podcast and appears regularly on cable news.

At turns puzzled and other times openly dismayed and dejected by the state of current affairs, Bharara said the impeachment trial has been marked by softball questions and the strange lack of witnesses and documents.

He said Republican members of Congress appear intimidated by ramifications of being challenged politically in the upcoming elections should they do anything against Trump, like allow John Bolton to testify, because "how can you prefer this guy to Mike Pence if you're a Republican?" Bharara said he believes U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice would rather abstain from getting involved in the political fighting over witnesses than take an aggressive stand or even a peripheral role.

"The person I feel most bad for, other than all of America," Bharara said to laugher, "is John Roberts, who cannot be happy sitting up there, he prides himself on not getting into politics and preserving institutional activity. He doesn't want to put his thumb on the scale in one way or the other, so my guess is he'll just abstain."

Plus, should Roberts allow for witnesses, for example, Senate rules allow for him to be overruled "and that's a terrible look for the Chief Justice."

Bharara weighed in on Bolton, noting that the White House appears to be "effing with him" by telling him his book violates the law and hurts sources and methods because of its classified material. The government is the arbiter of what's classified, and "the reason you know it's B.S. is that the manuscript is sitting unsecured somewhere on some NatSec officer's desk."

For Bharara, the "nightmare scenario" is that Trump has been allowed to get away with the stuff revealed in the Mueller investigation, and what's revealed in the impeachment trial, and that by continuing to escape accountability he commits "worse things in the future and gets away with it."

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It's almost 90 degrees outside in Los Angeles as lines of cars pull up to Dodger Stadium, home to a mass vaccination site that opened Friday.

"Please make sure that they're not under the sun in the cart," Edith Mirzaian is telling a volunteer as she directs the person to put ice packs on coolers that hold up to 20 COVID vaccines. Mirzaian is a USC associate professor of clinical pharmacy and an operational lead at one of California's largest vaccination sites.

Dodger Stadium alone — once the nation's largest COVID-19 testing site — is slated to vaccine up to 12,000 people each day, county and city health officials said this week. Officials plan to finish vaccinating some 500,000 health care and assisted care employees by the end of this month before opening appointments up to people 65 and older.

Mirzaian is desperately trying to make sure that the vaccines don't spoil.

"We have to be the guardians of the vaccine," she said.

Earlier this month, hundreds of vaccinations were lost after a refrigerator went out in Northern California, forcing the hospital to rush to give out hundreds of doses. Mirzaian's task tells a larger story of the difficult and often daunting logistical process required to roll out a vaccine that requires cold temperatures.

"You know they can't be warm so just keep an eye out," she gently reminds the volunteer.

The volunteers and staff from USC, the Los Angeles Fire Department and Core Laboratories prepared enough doses to vaccinate around 2,000 residents on Friday and they plan to increase capacity each day after.

Local health officials are holding the vaccination syringes in coolers after they leave the air-conditioned trailers. The coolers are then covered in ice packs and wheeled on carts to clinicians administering shots to health care workers and nursing home staff eligible under the state's vaccination plan.

"Vaccines are the surest route to defeating this virus and charting a course to recovery, so the City, County, and our entire team are putting our best resources on the field to get Angelenos vaccinated as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible," said mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement announcing the plan.

Health officials around the world are racing against time as the virus mutates and poses greater dangers.

"We have a little bit of borrowed time here right now because these variants are not here in great numbers from what we can tell," said Susan Butler-Wu, an associate professor in clinical pathology at USC's Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Curbing the spread of the virus is a vital way to prevent mutant strains from developing, she said.

Mirzaian, who arrived at the site before it opened at 8 a.m., said that there were logistical challenges as volunteers scrambled to assemble what will likely be the hub of the region's vaccination efforts.

"It's challenging to make sure that everyone knows what the process is and what we're doing and what to tell the patients who receive the vaccines."

After a few hours, the procedure moved quicker.

Residents have to show identification and proof of employment before they're taken through a list of pre-screening questions and given the vaccine through their car window. They're required to then wait for 15 minutes while clinicians monitor them for side effects.

Mirzaian said the process took each car about an hour. While eligible residents can walk-in for vaccinations, she recommends they make appointments so that enough doses are made available each day.

"As long as people have their appointments, they will get in," she said. "We are ready. We are like an army ready to give vaccines."

Snap promoted executive Ben Schwerin to be its new senior vice president of content and partnerships, as the company seeks to grow its content business to challenge rival TikTok.

As part of the reorganization, Chief Strategy Officer Jared Grusd, who previously oversaw content, will become a strategic advisor to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.

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As a casting director, Lacey Kaelani has a leading view on Hollywood's content pipeline. Based on what she's been seeing on her venture-backed casting platform, Casting Depot, prepare for a deluge of unscripted shows.

"It's all gonna be handheld videos where everything looks like a Zoom call," she said. "Dating shows, talk shows, food competition shows – that's what was cast and is going into production."

The Casting Depot launched its latest beta version on Friday, with a "six-figure" investment from global venture capital firm Antler. Its board includes leaders from companies including CAA, Airtime, iHeartMedia, WorkMarket and IAC.

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