Nadler: House Judiciary Committee will open investigation into Berman firing
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced Saturday that the committee will immediately open an investigation into the Trump administration’s decision to fire Manhattan U.S. attorney Geoff Berman.
“The House Judiciary Committee will immediately open an investigation into this incident, as part of our broader investigation into Barr’s unacceptable politicization of the Department of Justice,” Nadler said in a statement.
“On Wednesday, the Committee will hear from two whistleblowers who will explain why Barr’s attempt to fire Mr. Berman is part of a larger, ongoing, and wholly unacceptable pattern of conduct. If the President removes Mr. Berman, then we will take additional steps to secure his testimony as well.”
The news comes after the DOJ announced Friday that it was replacing Berman, and that Berman was stepping down from his post in New York.
About an hour later, Berman made a public statement saying that he had no intention of resigning from his post until the Senate appointed his replacement and that he was going to continue his work in current investigations.
Earlier on Saturday, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr wrote a letter to Berman noting that he asked President Trump to officially fire him from his post in the Southern District of New York.
A White House spokesperson told The Hill that Trump agreed to this request, but on Saturday Trump told reporters that he was “not involved” in Berman’s dismissal.
Nadler said the conflicting accounts suggest Barr might have gone over Trump.
“The whole thing smacks of corruption and incompetence, which is what we have come to expect from this President and his Attorney General,” Nadler said.
Barr said that he made this request to the president after Berman chose “public spectacle over public service,” following the statement from Berman Friday night where he said he had no intention of resigning from his post.
“Unfortunately, with your statement of last night, you have chosen public spectacle over public service,” Barr wrote. “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.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has also called for an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general, saying Berman’s dismissal “reeks of potential corruption of the legal process.”
The Democratic lawmakers argue that the administration did not provide a sufficient reason for Berman’s removal, and have suggested that the administration is retaliating against him for his office’s investigations of Trump associates.
“The firing of U.S. Attorney Berman cannot be explained by cause and instead suggests base and improper motives,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement Saturday.
Berman’s office has investigated Trump’s current and former attorneys, Rudy Guliani and Michael Cohen.
It was initially unclear if Berman was going to leave his post after Barr’s letter on Saturday. However, his office announced hours after the letter was sent that he would be leaving his post immediately per the administration’s request.