Wall Street Journal:
In the wake of the presidential election last fall, lawyers for Mr. de Blasio expressed concerns to federal prosecutors about the lengthy nature of their probe and its potential proximity to the mayoral election cycle, requesting that, if possible, prosecutors bring any charges in coming weeks, so the investigation wouldn’t linger into the year of his re-election bid, according to people familiar with the matter.
As part of that effort, Mr. de Blasio’s lawyers urged prosecutors to question the mayor and any relevant aides as soon as possible, these people said.
A spokesman for Mr. Bharara declined to comment.
The probe, of course, has stretched well into Mr. de Blasio’s re-election year, and threatens to extend into campaign season. While public-corruption prosecutors often are mindful that their work may be seen as politicized, many are particularly sensitive to how their decisions might be viewed after Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey endured criticism last year for taking public actions concerning the FBI’s investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton days before the November election, people familiar with the office said.
The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office takes into consideration the electoral context of any investigations and possible charges, said Daniel Stein, who was the office’s chief of the criminal division until November 2016, speaking generally about the office’s practices.
“Prosecutors would not bring a case, or close an investigation, before it makes sense to do so,” Mr. Stein said. “But where they can, prosecutors will try to do their work in a way that does not allow an investigation to cloud a candidate or unfairly affect a campaign.”
Around City Hall, some have suggested that if federal prosecutors decide against charging the mayor or any of his aides or allies, they should say so publicly. Such pronouncements, however, are rare.