Attorney General William Barr said in a letter Saturday that President Donald Trump had fired Geoffrey Berman, the powerful prosecutor atop the Manhattan US Attorney’s office who has investigated Trump’s closest associates, after Berman refused Barr’s effort a day prior to oust him.
“Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so,” Barr said.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday as he departed the White House to attend a campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., Trump disputed Barr’s account claiming he “wasn’t involved” in Berman’s firing.
“Well, that’s all up to the attorney general,” Trump told reporters. “Attorney General Barr is working on that.”
“That’s his department, not my department,” he said. “But we have a very capable attorney general, so that’s really up to him. I’m not involved.”
Trump on firing of Geoffrey Berman: "I'm not involved." (AG Barr says Trump gave the order to fire Berman.) pic.twitter.com/EVv6k5g9Zv
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 20, 2020
Berman’s office successfully prosecuted Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who went to prison, and has been investigating Trump’s current personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, reports The New York Times.
Barr had abruptly announced Berman’s resignation late Friday night, but Berman then quickly issued a statement denying that he was leaving.
“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,” he said.
HOW CAN THIS BE RECONCILED WITH BARR'S STATEMENT THAT TRUMP FIRED BERMAN??? https://t.co/HxQewRzMzf
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 20, 2020
Barr says Berman is leaving
Berman says Barr doesn't have the authority to fire him and he's not leaving
Barr releases a letter saying he has asked the president to fire Berman and the president has done so
The president says he's not involved and it's up to Barr
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) June 20, 2020
Is it even a massacre, if they're just trying to shoot the same guy over and over?
— Arkenor (@Arkenor) June 20, 2020
He really is dumber than a bag of rocks. https://t.co/KrInNEg2IY
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) June 20, 2020