Trump's Firing of Berman is of Obstruction of Justice, But Berman Just Stepped Down
In a politically corrupt lie at best, Attorney General William Barr announced the resignation of Berman on Friday.
There's just one little thing: Berman never resigned.
Another Political Crisis
The New York Times reports Clash Over U.S. Attorney Who Investigated Trump Associates Sets Off Crisis
Mr. Barr’s announcement that Mr. Trump was seeking to replace Mr. Berman was made with no notice. Mr. Barr said the president intended to nominate as Mr. Berman’s successor Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who has never served as a prosecutor.
Mr. Barr’s attempt to fire Mr. Berman received unexpected pushback from Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a close Trump ally.
Mr. Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — which would approve Mr. Clayton’s nomination — suggested in a statement that he would allow New York’s two Democratic senators to thwart the nomination through a procedural maneuver.
Reasons Trump Upset at Berman
Mr. Berman’s office has taken an aggressive approach in a number of cases that have vexed the Trump administration, from the prosecution and guilty plea obtained from Mr. Cohen to a broader investigation, growing out of that inquiry, which focused on Mr. Trump’s private company and others close to him.
Mr. Berman’s office also conducted an investigation into Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee, subpoenaing financial and other records as part of a broad inquiry into possible illegal contributions from foreigners.
Over the last year, Mr. 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.
Clayton is not a prosecutor, former prosecutor, or a litigator. At least one of those is normally a prerequisite for the job.
Bolton claims in his new book that Trump was willing to intervene in criminal investigations, including one in Mr. Berman’s office.
The case involves a state-owned Turkish bank accused of violating Iranian sanctions.
“Trump told Erdogan he would take care of things, explaining that the Southern District [Manhattan] prosecutors were not his people, but were Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people,” Mr. Bolton wrote.
Trump later dismissed charges against the bank. In return for what?
Barr Changes His Tune
As I was typing this up, Barr changed his claim from Berman resigned to this unbelievable story
Mr. Barr informed U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of his decision in a letter, saying he was “surprised and quite disappointed” by Mr. Berman’s statement late Friday night disputing Mr. Barr’s assertion earlier in the evening that he had stepped down.
“Unfortunately, with your statement of last night, you have chosen public spectacle over public service,” Mr. Barr wrote in his letter Saturday. “Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the president to remove you as of today, and he has done so.”
Barr lied twice, the first when he said Berman resigned, the second when he claimed Trump already fired him.
Obstruction of Justice
Legal grounds for removing Mr. Berman from the post remained unclear. Before Mr. Barr’s letter, people familiar with the situation said the matter was likely to end up before a judge.
Mr. Barr said in his letter Saturday that he had offered Mr. Berman “other senior positions” in government, including running his office’s civil division and the SEC chairman’s spot that Mr. Clayton would leave.
The WSJ said the legal grounds are unclear.
Firing a prosecutor because he is about to go after your friends is not merely "questionable".
It's blatant obstruction of justice and perhaps it extends to Trump himself.
Law and Order? Really?
Dear Mr. President how about some of each?
Appointing a political hack with no prosecution experience as the top Federal New York prosecutor has nothing to do with either Law or Order.
And not even Attorney General Barr can keep his story straight.
How Smelly Will This Get?
This is another cover-your-ass move by Trump guaranteed to blow up.
The question is not whether the details will be smelly, but rather how smelly it gets.
Addendum - Berman Reverses Course
Geoffrey Berman reverses course — now says he will leave SDNY ‘effective immediately’
“In light of A. G. Barr’s decision to respect the normal operation of law and have Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss become Acting U.S. Attorney, I will be leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, effective immediately,” Berman said in a statement released Saturday.
How long will Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss last?