In a fast-escalating crisis Friday night, Attorney General William Barr tried to oust Geoffrey Berman, the powerful US attorney for the Southern District of New York who has investigated a number of associates of President Donald Trump, but Berman defied him by refusing to step down.
Berman said “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. I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate,” Berman said. “Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption.”
Berman’s rebuttal came about an hour after the Department of Justice announced Trump intends to nominate Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who has never been a prosecutor.
He has been the US attorney for Manhattan since 2018, and under his leadership, his office prosecuted Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, is investigating top Trump confidante Rudy Giuliani and indicted the former New York mayor’s associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.