“I will resign when a candidate appointed by the president is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will proceed without delay or interruption. I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this office to do justice without fear or favor – and I intend to ensure that the important affairs of this office continue unhindered, ”he said. he said in a statement Friday evening.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said: “This dismissal late on Friday frees up possible corruption in the court process. What makes President Trump angry? A previous action by this American lawyer or in progress? ”
The dispute arises amid accusations by Democrats in Congress that Barr politicized the Department of Justice and acted more as Trump’s personal lawyer than as the country’s chief police officer.
In a ministerial press release, Barr said Trump intends to appoint Jay Clayton – the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and a lawyer with virtually no experience as a federal prosecutor – to the post of Berman.
“I thank Geoffrey Berman, who resigns after two and a half years of service as the United States attorney for the New York South District. With tenacity and common sense, Geoff has done an excellent job in running one of the largest US law firms in our country, “Barr said in the release.
US lawyer in New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, will serve pending interim US counsel, Barr said.
The announcement was made late Friday after Barr traveled to New York City and met with local police officials.The news comes just days after former national security adviser John Bolton said in his revealing book that Trump had promised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to intervene in the Halkbank case which was being prosecuted in the southern district.
The office sued a number of Trump associates, including former Trump personal attorney and repairer Michael Cohen, who served a prison sentence for lying to Congress and for campaign finance crimes, and also investigated Giuliani and his associates.
New York federal prosecutors are investigating Giuliani’s business dealings, including that he did not register as a foreign agent, according to people close to the investigation. People were not allowed to discuss the investigation in public and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Berman, a Republican who contributed to the president’s election campaign, worked for the same law firm as Giuliani and was appointed two years ago by the Trump administration. But as an American lawyer, he won over some skeptics when he set off in pursuit of Trump’s allies.
He recused himself from directly supervising the Cohen investigation for reasons that had never been revealed.
Berman was appointed by then attorney general Jeff Sessions in January 2018, months after the dismissal of former U.S. prosecutor Preet Bharara after refusing to resign, along with dozens of other federal prosecutors appointed by Barack Obama.
Three months later, FBI agents raided Cohen’s offices, an act the president described as a politically motivated witch hunt.
Berman has taken direct part in other investigations that have angered Trump.
His office has assigned Trump’s inaugural committee to a wide range of documents as part of an investigation into various potential crimes, including possible illegal contributions by strangers to inaugural events.
And weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, Berman announced insider trading charges against Trump’s staunch supporter, Republican Chris Collins. Collins, who represented western New York, has since resigned.
Under Berman’s tenure, his office also laid charges against Michael Avenatti, the combative lawyer who came to prominence by representing adult actor Stormy Daniels in lawsuits involving Trump. Avenatti was found guilty in February of trying to extort the giant sportswear Nike after prosecutors said he had threatened to use his media access to damage reputation and during the Nike stock unless the company pays him up to $ 25 million.
New York’s southern district is one of the first districts in the country, handling mob and terrorism cases over the years.