After Friday evening’s scuffle over the announcement of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman’s supposed resignation, Attorney General Bill Barr announced late Saturday that Donald Trump has officially fired Berman at Barr’s request.
Barr originally announced on Friday that Berman had opted to voluntarily step down from his high-profile position in the Southern District of New York. Berman immediately responded that the announcement was news to him and that he had no intention of stepping down.
On Saturday, Barr fired back in a letter to Berman that because of his refusal to cooperate, Barr asked President Trump to step in and remove Berman from the post.
“Unfortunately, with your statement of last night, you have chosen public spectacle over public service,” Barr wrote. “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.”
Berman indicated in his statement refusing to resign that he believed that there was political movtivation behind the announcement. Berman is said to be leading several investigations into the Trump administration and Trump allies.
Barr told Berman in the letter, however, that his position would be filled by Berman’s deputy, Audrey Strauss until the Senate confirms an official replacement. Additionally, Barr explained under no uncertain circumstances will there be a lapse in accountability following Berman’s ouster.
“Going forward, if any actions or decisions are taken that office supervisors conclude are improper interference with a case, that information should be provided immediately to Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, whom I am authorizing to review any such claim,” Barr said.
Having apparently satisfied Berman’s concerns about the ongoing investigations, Berman said on Saturday that he will “will “be leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, effective immediately.”
Democrats have still cried foul about the abrupt firing and removal of Berman, with several Democrat legislators calling for Barr’s resignation and impeachment in the aftermath of the incident.