Former Manhattan attorney Preet Bharara on DOJ move: 'Deja vu'

Former Manhattan attorney Preet Bharara on DOJ move: 'Deja vu'
© Getty Images

Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in New York Preet BhararaPreet BhararaReimagining the role of the next SEC chair What a Biden administration should look like Democratic attorneys criticize House Judiciary Democrats' questioning of Barr MORE in a Saturday tweet described the ouster of Geoffrey Berman, who took the post after Bharara was fired, as “deja vu.”


Bharara was responding to news the Justice Department would replace Berman, who is overseeing investigations into several Trump allies, including the president’s former lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenFlorida bank says it has closed Trump's accounts Trump's pardons harshly criticized by legal experts Manhattan DA expands probe into Trump company to include family estate: report MORE and his current attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiLawyers group calls for Giuliani's suspension from law practice, ethics probe Would Trump have gotten away with a self-pardon? History will never know Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon MORE.

The Justice Department announced in a Friday statement that Berman was "stepping down" from the post. 

“I thank Geoffrey Berman, who is stepping down after two-and-a-half years of service as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. With tenacity and savvy, Geoff has done an excellent job leading one of our nation’s most significant U.S. Attorney’s Offices, achieving many successes on consequential civil and criminal matters,” said Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Two-thirds say the election was fair: poll The Hill's Morning Report - An inauguration like no other MORE.

Berman, however, said that he had not stepped down and would refuse to leave the post until his successor was confirmed by the Senate. 


"I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was 'stepping down' as United States Attorney," the statement reads. "I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position ... 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." 

Barr provided no reason for replacing Berman, adding that he would nominated current Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Jay Clayton for the post.

Craig Carpenito, currently the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, will fill Berman’s role in an acting capacity effective July 3.

Bharara was removed from the office in 2017. Like Berman, he refused to resign, even though statements at the time from administration officials stated that he had done so. Bharara resufaced his 2017 tweet on Saturday, which was similar to Berman's. 

The moves to oust Berman was slammed by congressional Democrats, who accused Trump of trying to politicize the Justice Department and panned Berman’s ouster as a constitutional crisis. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerDivide and conquer or unite and prosper Roe is not enough: Why Black women want an end to the Hyde Amendment National Guard back inside Capitol after having been moved to parking garage MORE (D-N.Y.) suggested that Trump had Berman dismissed to protect himself from an ongoing probe, saying in a statement, “This late Friday night dismissal reeks of potential corruption of the legal process. What is angering President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE? A previous action by this U.S. Attorney or one that is ongoing?”