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Politics Ousted U.S. Attorney Berman testifies that Barr repeatedly pressured him to resign

21:06  09 july  2020
21:06  09 july  2020 Source:   politico.com

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Attorney General William Barr repeatedly and persistently pressured Manhattan's former top federal prosecutor to resign during a June 18 meeting at a New York hotel and in a subsequent phone call, the ex-prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman told lawmakers Thursday, detailing for the first time the series of events that led to his firing by President Donald Trump the next day.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman arrives July 9 on Capitol Hill. © Alex Wong/Getty Images Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman arrives July 9 on Capitol Hill.

Berman, in a written statement to the House Judiciary Committee, said Barr repeatedly attempted to coax Berman into resigning his post by offering him other positions in government, including the chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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"I said that there was no job offer that would entice me to resign from my position," Berman told lawmakers in his opening statement, obtained by POLITICO.

But Barr, later that night, issued a statement announcing Berman's resignation anyway, which triggered Berman to publicly respond that he had done no such thing. The extraordinary exchange culminated the following day, when Barr agreed to name Berman's deputy as his successor and Trump ordered Berman's firing. Berman told lawmakers he had consulted with private attorneys and was prepared to contest his removal until Barr had agreed to elevate Berman's deputy, Audrey Strauss, rather than insert an attorney from outside the office to replace him.

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  Ousted SDNY federal prosecutor Geoffrey Berman to appear before House Judiciary Committee next week Former Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman will testify next week before the House Judiciary committee in a closed door hearing – just weeks after President Trump fired him. © Provided by FOX News Berman will appear before the Democrat-led House committee next Thursday, Fox News is told. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Attorney General William Barr informed Berman late last month that he was fired from his post as U.S.

The events have raised alarms on Capitol Hill that Trump was seeking to assert control over the office of a prosecutor handling cases connected to Trump himself and his close associates. Berman's testimony to the Judiciary Committee could reveal more details about the work he's been pursuing, though he emphasizes that he is constrained in what he can say due to the office's ongoing work.

But Berman described in great detail his interactions with Barr, noting that they met at 12:10 p.m. on June 18 in the Pierre Hotel on New York City. "There were sandwiches on the table, but nobody ate," Berman recalled.

"The Attorney General began the meeting by saying that he wanted to make a change in the Southern District of New York," Berman continued, adding, "I asked the Attorney General why I was being asked to resign prior to a nominee being confirmed. He said it was because the Administration wanted to get [SEC Chairman] Jay Clayton into that position."

Ousted U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman: Deal Barr Offered ‘Could Be Seen as a Quid Pro Quo’ .
The federal prosecutor whom Attorney General Bill Barr ousted in June told House investigators that he was alarmed at the way Barr attempted to replace him, saying that “the “irregular and unexplained actions by the Attorney General raised serious concerns for me,” according to a transcript of the closed-door interview released by the House Judiciary Committee on Monday. Geoffrey Berman, formerly the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was brought in for a closed-door session of the Judiciary Committee on July 9 to talk about the events surrounding Barr’s public announcement on June 19 that Berman had “stepped down” from his post, even though the U.

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This is interesting!