Schumer calls on DOJ IG to probe decision to try to oust US attorney in Manhattan

Schumer calls on DOJ IG to probe decision to try to oust US attorney in Manhattan
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerA renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs Trump may be DACA participants' best hope, but will Democrats play ball? MORE (D-N.Y.) is calling on two Justice Department offices to investigate the decision to try to remove the U.S. attorney for Manhattan. 

"I am calling for the Department of Justice Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility to immediately launch an investigation into the reasons behind the decision by the president and the attorney general to attempt to dismiss Mr. Berman," Schumer said.

Democrats have panned the decision by the administration to try to remove the current U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman. 

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Attorney General William BarrBill BarrOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Key impeachment witness retires | Duckworth presses for information | Subpanel advances defense measure | Democrats press for end to military transgender ban DOJ to resume executions next week for first time in 15 years Tim Scott says he's talking with House Democrats about reviving police reform bill MORE announced on Friday night that Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton would be nominated for the post and that Berman was "stepping down." 

But Berman subsequently said he had not resigned and would not step down until the Senate confirmed a successor.

Barr did not provide any details on the decision in his statement on Friday night, instead praising Berman. 

"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.  I appreciate his service to the Department of Justice and our nation, and I wish him well in the future," Barr said.

But Democrats view it as the latest attempt to politicize the Justice Department. Berman's office ran the probe that sent Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenBarr to testify in House oversight hearing next month Stone received 'favorable treatment' because of relationship with Trump, former prosecutor will testify Nadler to subpoena AG Barr over Berman firing MORE to prison and is investigating his current personal attorney, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiOusted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week Sunday shows preview: With coronavirus cases surging, lawmakers and health officials weigh in Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down MORE.

Schumer on Saturday called Berman's ouster a "brazen Trump-Barr scheme to interfere in investigations by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York."