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Gillibrand plans to stop Trump's pick for US attorney in New York

Gillibrand plans to stop Trump's pick for US attorney in New York
© Camille Fine

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandAffordable housing set for spotlight of next presidential campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case Pentagon watchdog knocks top admiral for handling of sexual harassment case MORE (D-N.Y.) plans to try and block President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE’s pick for U.S. attorney in New York’s southern district, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Gillibrand, a frequent and vocal critic of the president, will likely use her “blue-slip prerogative” to oppose the nomination of Geoffrey Berman. Senators from the home state of a nominee — in Berman’s case New York — are required to sign off on blue slips for a nominee to be considered. 

Gillibrand’s spokesman told The New York Times that the senator would block the nomination over concerns that Trump interviewed Berman for the post directly.

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Politico reported last October that Trump, who prior to the presidency lived in New York City, conducted interviews with Berman and Ed McNally for the U.S. attorney posts in the Southern District of New York and Eastern District of New York, respectively.

The interviews were considered abnormal and prompted concerns from Democratic senators that they amounted to political interference in the appointment process.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October MORE (R-Iowa) previously said he would do away with the blue-slip policy for a pair of judicial nominees, arguing that Democratic senators are not returning the slips in an effort to prevent hearings.

Grassley's office told The New York Times on Wednesday that Grassley would honor Gillibrand's blue-slip in this case.

Trump picked Berman to replace Preet BhararaPreetinder (Preet) Singh BhararaGOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter Preet Bharara questions whether Trump will respect ‘presidential alert’ system Republicans shift course after outside counsel falters MORE as the top prosecutor in southern New York. His appointment is subject to a confirmation hearing.

Berman served as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan from 1990 to 1994 and currently works as a partner at the Greenberg Traurig law firm, where former New York City Mayor and Trump ally Rudy Giuliani is listed as a shareholder.