WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Saturday fired the top federal prosecutor in New York, a day after U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman had made clear he would resist an effort by Attorney General William Barr to remove him from office.
Barr informed Berman of the president’s move in a sharply worded letter, informing Berman that his deputy, Audrey Strauss, will serve as the acting U.S. Attorney in Manhattan until the Senate can confirm his replacement.
Barr wrote that he had hoped for Berman’s “cooperation to facilitate a smooth transition” in the office as Trump nominates the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, to fill the job permanently.
Instead, Barr wrote that Berman had chosen “public spectacle” by resisting the effort to remove him. “Because you have declared you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so,” Barr wrote.
Berman’s office did not immediately comment on the letter.
Offering little explanation, Barr announced late Friday that Berman would be replaced on an acting basis by the U.S. attorney in New Jersey, and that Trump would nominate Clayton for the position. Berman issued a remarkable statement in response, insisting he had not resigned and had no intention of stepping aside until the Senate confirms his replacement.
In an email sent to employees early Saturday morning, a copy of which was read to The Washington Post, Berman wrote that his only concern was “protecting this office and your work.” On Saturday, Berman reported to work at his office in Manhattan.
Source: The Hour