In Friday Night Drama, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman Refuses To ‘Step Down’ After Barr Asks For Resignation
In Friday Night Drama, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman Refuses To ‘Step Down’ After Barr Asks For Resignation from Zero Hedge
Geffrey Berman is refusing to step down as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York after Attorney General William Barr asked him to resign, according to Bloomberg.
“I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney,” said Berman, adding “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“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.”
Reacting to the news, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said “This late Friday night dismissal reeks of potential corruption of the legal process.”
SDNY was pursuing several probes of the president’s business and his inaugural committee. It was also investigating Rudy Giuliani, an outspoken Trump supporter, and charged two of Giuliani’s associates. In his congressional testimony, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, whose conviction on campaign finance violations and other charges was secured by SDNY prosecutors, said he was cooperating with them on matters he couldn’t discuss. -Bloomberg
According to a NYT anonymous source that cannot be verified, President Trump has been unhappy with Berman since he went after Cohen, and has been discussing Berman’s removal with a small group of advisers for some time.
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In a surprising move that inevitably will be denounced by President Trump’s political opponents as another “Friday Night Massacre”, the DoJ just announced that Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the southern district of New York, will soon depart.
A Republican who contributed to Trump’s campaign, Berman was considered a highly qualified pick to succeed Preet Bharara, the previous occupant of his Berman’s soon-to-be-former office, which also features heavily in the TV show “Billions” (it’s the position held by the show’s antagonist, a corrupt federal prosecutor).
AG Barr didn’t offer much in the way of an explanation, and Berman hasn’t said much either. Then again, we’re only just finding out about this, and it’s 10pmET on a holiday Friday.
But even more surprising than the news of Berman’s sudden departure is the news of who will take his place. Following a brief interlude, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton will become the next US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
For those who aren’t familiar, Clayton is the same man who almost allowed Hertz and its creditors to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of stock to unsuspecting Robinhood day traders trying to flip their stimulus checks for quick cash with nary a word from the SEC.