After a weekend of back and forth between Donald Trump, William Barr, and Geoffrey Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York officially resigned on Saturday evening. Katherine Faulders of ABC News was among the first to report the resignation via Berman’s official release on Twitter. The tweet was included in a string of posts following what was an evolving situation starting on Friday night and into Saturday.
The situation began when Barr told the media Berman had resigned on Friday. The U.S. Attorney then issued a statement saying he didn’t resign and planned to stay in the position for the foreseeable future. In an earlier post, Faulders reported that Barr announced Trump fired Berman because he refused to step down. When the president was asked about the firing, he told assembled media he had nothing to do with it.
Faulders said at that point, Barr asked Trump if he could fire Berman on the president’s behalf. The reporter said that eventually, Barr and Berman came to an understanding and the U.S. Attorney did officially step down.
“In light of Attorney General Barr’s decision to respect the normal operation of law and have Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss become Acting U.S. Attorney, I will be leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, effective immediately,” Berman wrote in his statement.
Pete Williams of NBC News reported that Democratic members of Congress were outraged over the announcement of Berman being pushed out. The U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York has been involved in several investigations of Trump associates. Subjects of those investigations included former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and longtime friend Roger Stone.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler issued a statement on social media, according to Williams, voicing his displeasure at the situation and Attorney General Barr in particular.
“America is right to expect the worst of Bill Barr, who has repeatedly interfered in criminal investigations on Trump’s behalf,” Nadler said. “The House Judiciary Committee will immediately open an investigation into this incident, as part of our broader investigation into Barr’s unacceptable politicization of the Department of Justice.”
Nadler added there is a hearing next week and claimed two whistleblowers are scheduled to testify. He said they will be talking to the committee about Barr’s act of removing Berman being part of a bigger plot that was politically motivated.
“The whole thing smacks of corruption and incompetence, which is what we have come to expect from this President and his Attorney General,” Nadler said in the statement.