Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves a standoff with Manhattan D.A and the Attorney General plus the Trump Administration.
Trump administration on Friday announced that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who has overseen a number of investigations involving the president and his political campaign, will be leaving that job, But Berman fired back that he had not resigned and intends to stay in the job to ensure the cases continue unimpeded.
Friday night standoff is just the latest battle over the Trump administration’s management of the Justice Department. Democrats have decried what they charge has been the politicization of the department under President Trump and his attorney general, William P. Barr.
Barr announced the personnel change in a statement, saying the president plans to nominate the current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, for the job.
A Justice Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the situation’s volatility, said the change arose because Clayton was preparing to leave the SEC later this year and had also expressed interest in the New York prosecutor job. Barr liked Clayton and liked the idea, the official said. Barr offered Berman the chance to become the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, but Berman declined, the official said.
Berman issued a blistering public statement.
“I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney. 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,” Berman said.
“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. I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this Office to pursue justice without fear or favor, and intend to ensure that this Office’s important cases continue unimpeded.”
Geoffrey Berman’s office has been conducting a criminal investigation of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, in a campaign finance case that has already led to charges against two of Giuliani’s associates.
Berman is almost positioned to resist efforts to oust him, at least for a while. U.S. attorneys are typically nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, but in Berman’s case he was appointed to the job by the federal court in his district, and there is some legal precedent indicating that only the court, not the Justice Department, can remove him until a replacement is confirmed by the Senate.
Attorney General William Barr said in his statement that while the Senate considers Clayton’s nomination, the job will be filled by Craig Carpenito, who is the U.S. attorney in New Jersey. Carpenito will take over the job on July 3.”
“Geoff has done an excellent job leading one of our nation’s most significant U.S. Attorney’s Offices, achieving many successes on consequential civil and criminal matters,” Barr said.
Under Berman, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have pursued cases against Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell last summer.