Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, plans to step down and President Donald Trump will nominate the current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission to succeed him, Attorney General William Barr announced Friday evening.
But Berman said he learned of the plan in a Justice Department press release and shot back that he has no intention of stepping down.
“I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York,” he said in a statement late Friday night.
“I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption. I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this Office to pursue justice without fear or favor — and intend to ensure that this Office’s important cases continue unimpeded.”
Word of Barr’s announcement caught senior officials in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office off guard. His office prosecuted former Trump confidante Michael Cohen, though he was recused from involvement in the case. And he was overseeing the investigation of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s business activities.
Barr said the president will nominate Jay Clayton to succeed Berman.
“For the past three years, Jay has been an extraordinarily successful SEC Chairman, overseeing efforts to modernize regulation of the capital markets, protect Main Street investors, enhance American competitiveness, and address challenges ranging from cybersecurity issues to the COVID-19 pandemic.”