Geoffrey Berman, the man who until recently served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told members of Congress on Thursday about Attorney General Bill Barr’s “unprecedented, unnecessary and unexplained” efforts to oust him.
In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Berman explained how Barr contacted him and repeatedly pressed him to step down from his position at SDNY to take another high-profile position within the government.
Berman, however, told Barr that he wanted to stay at his current job until a replacement was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the United States Senate.
Barr apparently wouldn’t take no for an answer and again asked Berman to step down on Friday, June 19th, after which Berman asked Barr to give him until Monday, June 22nd, to make a decision.
Barr said that he would give Berman until the next day — but nonetheless had the Department of Justice put out a press release just hours later on June 19th that falsely claimed Berman was stepping down.
“The press release said, among other things, that the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, had been appointed by the president as Acting U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York effective July 3rd pending Jay Clayton’s nomination and confirmation for that position,” Berman told lawmakers. “The appointment of Craig Carpenito as Acting U.S. Attorney, or anyone from outside of the Office, would have been unprecedented, unnecessary and unexplained.”