President Trump has now fired Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney in Manhattan who had refused to step down when ordered to by the Justice Department on Friday night.
Trump’s firing of the powerful federal prosecutor — whose office is investigating multiple cases involving the president’s associates — was announced in a letter to Berman Saturday from Attorney General William Barr.
“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’s letter to Berman reads.
But minutes after Barr’s letter became public, Trump washed his hands of the controversial firing — leaving unclear just who, in fact, was forcing Berman out.
Berman’s firing was Barr’s doing, not his, Trump insisted to reporters as he
“That’s all up to the Attorney General,” the president said as he prepared to leave the White House for a rally in Tulsa.
“That’s his department, not my department. I’m not involved.”
Also unclear Saturday was whether Berman would leave his post without a court fight.
Berman on Friday night had promised in a statement that he would not resign until “a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate.”
Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss will step up as acting US Attorney, Barr wrote, “until a permanent successor is in place.”
The letter concludes by promising that all ongoing investigations and prosecutions in the Southern District of New York will continue as before, “pursuant to the [Justice] Department’s applicable standards, policies and guidance.”
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