In closed-door House Judiciary Committee testimony, Geoffrey Berman is laying out how Attorney General Barr pressed and pushed him out of the SDNY.
From Berman’s opening statement to the House Judiciary Committee:
I told the Attorney General that there were important investigations in the Office that I wanted to see through to completion. I also said that I wanted to help lead the Office through the COVID crisis and get the Office back to normal functioning. The Attorney General repeatedly urged me to take the Civil Division position.
At one point, I compared his request for my resignation to what happened with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia, where the U.S. Attorney resigned and was replaced with someone from outside that office instead of the First Assistant. By referring to that resignation, I intended to signal the Attorney General that I was not going to resign so that he could disregard normal procedure and appoint someone from outside the Southern District as acting head instead of our Deputy U.S. Attorney.
The Attorney General said that if I did not resign from my position, I would be fired. He added that getting fired from my job would not be good for my resume or future job prospects. I told him that while I did not want to get fired, I would not resign.
Jay Powell, who is a Trump backer and unqualified to lead the Southern District of New York, wanted the job, so Barr pressured Berman, whose job performance was satisfactory, to resign or change positions.
The Berman hearing is closed to the public, but his opening statement was released by the committee, and it revealed the degree of politicization inside the DOJ and how William Barr is acting as Trump’s personal lawyer instead of working for the American people.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association