Trump's Attempt To Fire A U.S. Attorney Backfires Spectacularly
According to The New York Times, Attorney General William Barr attempted to fire US attorney Geoffrey Berman, who had been pushing ahead investigations into Rudolph Giuliani.
- On Friday night, Barr abruptly tried to fire the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, Berman, who has pursued investigations into several of President Trump’s closest associates, but Berman said he would not leave, reported The Times.
- After Barr made an unforeseen announcement that Berman would resign, Berman promptly released a statement on Friday night saying, “I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney.” He added, “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning.”
- Barr had also stated that Trump intended to replace Berman with Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who has never served as a prosecutor.
- After Barr asked Berman to resign and was met with refusal, Barr moved to fire him.
- According to the report, Trump “had been discussing removing Mr. Berman for some time with a small group of advisers,” and the president “has been upset with Mr. Berman ever since the Manhattan prosecutor’s office pursued a case against Mr. Cohen.”
- Trump’s “purge of officials has intensified in the months since the Republican-led Senate acquitted him in the impeachment trial,” the report continued. Trump has fired or forced out prominent inspectors generals who had independent oversight over executive branch agencies.
“Several dismissals have come late on Friday nights, a time that many White Houses have used to disclose news that they would prefer receive little attention,” The Times wrote.
Berman has been investigating Trump’s private company as well as others close to the president.
- Over the last year, Berman’s office “brought indictments against two close associates of the president’s current lawyer, Mr. Giuliani, and began an investigation into Mr. Giuliani himself, focusing on whether his efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on the president’s political rivals violated laws on lobbying for foreign entities,” the report stated.
- Barr’s move to oust Berman came two days after excerpts from an upcoming book were released from Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton. He described Trump’s “willingness to intervene in criminal investigations, including one in Berman’s office,” reported The Times.
- Despite no advance notice of Barr’s effort to remove Berman from office, The Times explained how Barr also announced that “on his recommendation, Mr. Trump had appointed Craig Carpenito, the current US attorney for New Jersey, to serve as acting US attorney in Manhattan while the Senate considers Mr. Clayton’s nomination.”
Barr said Carpenito’s appointment would be effective starting July 3.