‘Friday night massacre’ fail: Barr attempts to fire lawyer investigating Trump allies, but he refuses to leave
Top US prosecutor Geoffrey S. Berman, who has previously investigated allies of President Trump, has issued a blunt statement saying he refuses to leave his position following his attempted firing by Attorney General William Barr.
“I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was stepping down as United States Attorney,” Berman, prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, tweeted on Friday night. “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning my position.”
The statement came after Barr announced the prosecutor was leaving his position only hours before. Berman’s past acts include prosecuting Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and investigating Rudy Giuliani, one of the president’s current lawyers.
Berman’s refusal to leave his position sets up a potential internal war within the Justice Department, as Barr has announced Craig Carpenito, prosecutor for New Jersey, will be taking Berman’s place on July 3 until the Senate can confirm an official replacement.
Berman, however, puts little stock in the president and the attorney general – something he made clear in his statement, which mentioned the unusual path which led to his current position.
“I was appointed by the judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York,” he said. “I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption.”
The prosecutor’s defiance has been celebrated by the left on social media, where some even started referring to the events between Barr and Berman as a failed “Friday night massacre” in reference to what is popularly known as the Saturday Night Massacre, the 1973 evening in which President Richard Nixon attempted to get the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal fired – only to receive several resignations from people refusing to carry out his orders.
As we discuss the Friday Night Massacre at DOJ, keep in mind that the AG baldly lied, again: “I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney,” Berman said. “I have not resigned & have no intention of resigning."— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) June 20, 2020
What is Trump afraid of? This Friday night massacre deserves an immediate reaction from Congress and others in Justice. Barr MUST be impeached and Trump removed. They have stopped even the appearance of worrying about or following the law.https://t.co/Vg9SYWYN2d— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) June 20, 2020
“Thank you Mr. Berman. The American people stand with you. You are [a] hero,” author Amy Siskind tweeted about the prosecutor.
“Don’t let these criminals win,” another user added.
"Our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption." Presumably Trump wanted to fire Berman to stop one or more investigations. They must be pretty threatening to precipitate this action. What are they? pic.twitter.com/3L2StlGT01— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 20, 2020
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) blasted Barr’s attempt to oust Berman, calling it a “naked abuse of power.”
This is a naked abuse of power. I’ve already called for AG William Barr to resign & for Congress to impeach him. Congress should pass my bill now to defund Barr’s authority to interfere with matters related to Trump, his family, & his campaign.https://t.co/qyScqhFkiw— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 20, 2020
News of Berman’s likely departure also follows an allegation involving the prosecutor from John Bolton’s controversial new book ‘The Room Where It Happened’, due to be released on June 23. In the book, Bolton reportedly claims that the president tried to interfere in a Berman investigation into a Turkish company in order to earn favor with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.Also on rt.com Bolton memoir bombshell: Trump thinks everything Macron touches ‘turns to s**t’
Berman was also invited to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for a scheduled hearing on Barr.
“America is right to expect the worst of Bill Barr, who has repeatedly interfered in criminal investigations on Trump’s behalf,” Representative Jerry Nadler (D-New York), the chairman of the committee, tweeted.
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