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FILE – In this Oct. 26, 2018, file photo, Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a press conference at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon, File)
President Donald Trump has finally fired Manhattan Attorney General Geoffrey Berman, a powerful official who had investigated the President’s environment and had refused to leave office, Attorney General William Barr reported today.
In a harsh letter, Barr noted that he had hoped for « (Berman’s) cooperation in facilitating a smooth transition » until confirmation of his replacement as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York but that he had instead chosen to generate « a spectacle public ».
« Since he has stated that he has no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to fire him today, and he has done so, » the attorney general wrote.
This Friday, Barr announced in a statement that Berman was stepping down and that the president was nominating instead the current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jay Clayton, who has no prior experience as a prosecutor.
Berman, however, denied resigning and claimed to have learned from the statement that he was being fired.
« I have not resigned and I have no intention of resigning, » the prosecutor said in another statement.
Berman, who is a Republican, is the prosecutor who led the case against Michael Cohen, a former Trump lawyer who collaborated with Justice and who was sentenced to jail for various economic crimes.
In addition to Cohen, Berman has also investigated the former mayor of New York and now Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giulliani, as well as the business network of the president and his presidential campaign.
The District Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is perhaps the most prestigious in the country and has a tradition of independence with respect to governments of either color.
Berman’s dismissal comes days after revelations that former national security adviser John Bolton has made in his book on Trump, including his willingness to intervene in various federal investigations.