U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Saturday that President Donald Trump has fired Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman, who refused to step down over unfinished investigations.
In a letter to Berman, Barr accused of him choosing “public spectacle over public service.” “Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning. I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so,” Barr wrote.Trump announced late Friday night his intention to nominate Jay Clayton, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, to replace Berman.
In a stunning response, Berman, who ran the probe that sent Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to prison and is reportedly investigating his current personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said that he has not resigned and that he has “no intention of resigning.””I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney,” Berman said on Fright night. “I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption.”
Besides Cohen and Giuliani, Berman’s office also subpoenaed Trump’s inaugural committee over an investigation into potential illegal contributions from foreigners and charged former Congressman Chris Collins, a Trump ally, with insider trading.Barr said Saturday that he was “surprised and quite disappointed” by Berman’s statement and that he was “hoping for your cooperation to facilitate a smooth transition.”
“Your statement also wrongly implies that your continued tenure in the office is necessary to ensure that cases now pending in the Southern District of New York are handled appropriately,” the attorney general wrote in the letter. “I fully expect that the office will continue to handle all cases in the normal course and pursuant to the Department’s applicable standards, policies, and guidance.”