Jun 20, 2020 · Attorney General William Barr said on Saturday that President Trump had fired the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who has investigated the president’s closest associates. Trump removed the prosecutor, Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York after he had refused to step down on Friday night.
Jun 20, 2020 · “Attorney William Barr said on Saturday that President Trump had fired the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who has investigated the president’s closest associates, deepening a crisis over the independence of law enforcement and the president’s purge of officials he views as disloyal,” the New York Times reports.
Jun 20, 2020 · Berman was also overseeing the investigation of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's business activities, and the prosecution of two Florida businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, former associates of ...
Mar 11, 2017 · On Friday, the Trump administration ordered 46 U.S. attorneys to resign immediately, generating a hailstorm of publicity. The announcement came on the heels of a Fox news commentator, Sean Hannity, calling for the Trump White House to “purge” Obama appointments: Firing of 46 US Attorneys by Sessions occurred day after Sean Hannity called …
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman agrees to step down after Trump fires him, House Democrats launch probe. Berman said Saturday that he would not fight the move and will be leaving the office in the hands of his deputy, effective immediately.
Shortly afterwards, Berman, who had defied Barr's earlier demand for his resignation, announced that he would not resist the order and would step down, leaving the high-profile prosecutor's office in the hands of his deputy, Audrey Strauss.
Barr said in his Saturday letter that he had been "surprised and quite disappointed" by Berman's response on Friday night, saying he had "hoped that [Berman's] departure could be amicable" and had believed there was still a chance he might remain within the administration in some capacity.
Trump himself, when asked about Berman's firing Saturday afternoon by reporters at the White House, said he was "not involved" in the situation and that the decision was "up to the attorney general."
Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington on Oct. 26, 2018. Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democrats were sharply critical of the move, with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler tweeting Friday that "America is right to expect the worst of Bill Barr, who has repeatedly interfered in criminal investigations on Trump’s behalf."
Pete Williams is an NBC News correspondent who covers the Justice Department and the Supreme Court, based in Washington.
The Trump Administration has given 46 U.S. attorneys, Department of Justice prosecutors, the ax. No, this isn’t what Clinton did in 1993. It’s unprecedented.
The announcement came on the heels of a Fox news commentator, Sean Hannity, calling for the Trump White House to “purge” Obama appointments:
In addition, the mass dismissal follows a memo from Attorney General Sessions to all U.S. attorneys “ asking them to make fighting violent crime a priority .” The violent crime rate has been declining steadily since it peaked in 1991. In 2014, the murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate was at its lowest point since the early 1960s.
attorneys can be appointed without Senate oversight until the end of the President’s term, instead of for only 120 days. This clause — as well as several other “miscellaneous” items — was added to the bill during the conference process. Behind closed doors.
U.S. attorneys are responsible for prosecuting federal crimes in the areas that they oversee and report to Department of Justice. For almost 100 years, when there was a vacancy, the district court appointed an interim U.S. attorney. The president would then appoint a replacement, who would be confirmed by the Senate.
However, in 2001, the Bush Administration “ eased U.S. attorneys out gradually while officials sought replacements .”. Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty told the LA Times: “We called each one and had them give us a timeframe. Most were gone by late April.”.
Rod Rosenstein was appointed by Bush and remained on the job for the full eight years of the Obama administration; he is currently (2017) a nominee for deputy attorney general. Bush: The big controversy during the Bush Administration was the firing of a handful of U.S. Attorneys during his second term.
During his second time as the US attorney, Huber was tasked by Sessions to reexamine a previous Justice Department investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's business dealings and the Clinton Foundation.
Graham said he needs time to question Garland on current investigations and wrote a letter on Tuesday to Wilkinson urging him "not to interfere in or call off" the investigations.
The changeover of US attorneys is routine but is often fraught with political overtones. In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked 46 Obama-appointed US attorneys to submit their resignations. A handful were allowed to stay on for a brief period, but most had to leave immediately.
Some high-profile US attorneys who had not resigned ahead of Biden's inauguration included US Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers, Utah US Attorney John Huber and Pittsburgh US Attorney Scott Brady.
Among those the Biden administration may keep for a while, according to people briefed on the matter, are Michael Sherwin, acting US attorney in Washington, DC, who is overseeing the sprawling probe of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
A number of acting US attorneys who aren't Senate confirmed or who were appointed by the courts are expected to remain in their posts until a Biden appointee is approved by the Senate, prosecutors were told Tuesday.
The president's moves have prompted scrutiny and criticism from congressional Democrats, who accuse Mr. Trump of hollowing independent inspector general offices and retaliating against those that have exposed wrongdoing or missteps by his administration.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the move by the president "unsavory.". Eliot Engel , a New York congressman who chairs the House Foreign Affairs panel, said in a statement Linick's office was investigating Pompeo and said his "firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation.".
Linick is the fourth inspector general to be purged from his position by Mr. Trump in a span of six weeks. He has been the State Department's inspector general since the Obama administration. Appointed in September 2013 to the State Department, he was also the first inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, ...
Behm has been the deputy inspector general at the Department of Transportation and has been serving as the acting inspector general since February 1.
Atkinson was nominated to serve as the internal watchdog for the intelligence community in November 2017 and was confirmed by the Senate in May 2018, becoming the second person to hold the position of intelligence community inspector general since it was created in 2010.
As was the case with Atkinson, Mr. Trump notified Congress of his decision to fire Linick late on a Friday night, a move that was supported by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
As inspector general for the intelligence community, Atkinson handled the complaint filed by an anonymous whistleblower that raised concerns about Mr. Trump's dealings with Ukraine and ultimately led to House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into the president. Atkinson determined the complaint was credible and reported it to the director of national intelligence, as required by federal law. He then notified the House Intelligence Committee in September that then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire decided not to forward the whistleblower complaint to lawmakers.