AG Bill Barr & Donald Trump fired the US Attorney for the Southern District of NY

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Geoffrey Berman is the US Attorney heading up the Southern District of New York, arguably the most powerful federal prosecutorial corridor in America. The SDNY has broad leeway to investigate financial crimes, involve itself in NYPD investigations, and the SDNY office has been involved in the Jeffrey Epstein case (for which Berman is beefing with Prince Andrew). They’re also investigating Donald Trump’s businesses, his fake charities, his slumlording, his criminal enterprises, and his criminal co-conspirators. Berman’s office is involved in so much. So… yeah, of course it was shocking when out of nowhere (seemingly), Attorney General Bill Barr decided that Berman was “resigning.” Berman said, actually, he’s not resigning from sh-t. Friday Night Massacre?

House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler is inviting Manhattan-based U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman to testify next week, following Attorney General William Barr‘s effort to fire him late Friday. “America is right to expect the worst of Bill Barr, who has repeatedly interfered in criminal investigations on Trump’s behalf,” Nadler said shortly before midnight Friday. “We have a hearing on this topic on Wednesday. We welcome Mr. Berman’s testimony and will invite him to testify.”

Nadler’s offer followed a late-night eruption inside the Justice Department, exposing a fissure between Barr and prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York — an office that has handled sensitive cases involving Trump’s business interests and close associates. Barr announced abruptly that Berman would be stepping down as head of the office, a post he was appointed to by federal judges following a lengthy vacancy.

“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,” Barr said in a statement at around 9:30 p.m. “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.”

Trump then announced his intent to nominate Jay Clayton, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission to succeed him. And Barr said Craig Carpentino, New Jersey’s U.S. attorney, would take over temporarily for Berman while Clayton’s nomination was pending. That would be a departure from past practice, Justice Department veterans said, noting that the usual procedure would be for a career prosecutor to assume the acting U.S. attorney role. But the unusual personnel moves quickly gave way to a full-blown crisis when Berman said he only learned of the personnel moves from Barr’s press release and had no intention of stepping down. Rather, noting that he was appointed by judges, Berman said he intended to stay until a permanent successor is confirmed. Until then, Berman said, his office would pursue its investigations “without delay or interruption.”

[From Politico]

I’m including Berman’s full statement via tweet from the SDNY below. It was clear that this was Barr’s thing – Barr believes that the role of Attorney General of the United States of America is simply described as “mob lawyer to a mob president.” Barr honestly thinks he’s the wartime consigliere to Godfather Bigly. Obviously, the SDNY was dipping too close to comfort towards something Trump-related. I don’t believe this was about Prince Andrew – I can’t see Barr pulling this kind of move *just* to protect Epstein’s party prince procurer.

Oh, and after all of that ^^^ on Friday, guess what happened on Saturday? Trump fired Berman, then denied that he fired him. There were some legal scholars who argued that Trump would have to do it himself, that the AG couldn’t do it. Others argued that since Berman was approved by judges, he couldn’t be fired by Trump & Barr, but it happened anyway. Berman had ongoing investigations into Epstein, Prince Andrew, Rudy Giuliani and an unknown number of Trump associates. So no, this isn’t obvious at all.

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40 Responses to “AG Bill Barr & Donald Trump fired the US Attorney for the Southern District of NY”

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  1. CROWHOOD says:

    This is one of my biggest rage points for the past several years.

    Republicans are supposed to be the party of smaller government. Less Fed, more state. Besides their blatant hatred for women, black people, Asian people, latinx, indigenous people, poor people, gay people etc. they aren’t even doing what their stupid party says they are for. Hypocrisy, idiocy, criminality abounds.

    • Ainsley7 says:

      They haven’t really been for small government in a long time. They’re always giving huge amounts of money to the military and never shy away from “spreading democracy” with violence. They also don’t mind regulations that protect corporations and banks. Taxes are also fine. As long as there are plenty of loopholes for corporations and those who own them. They’re against the kind of “big government” that protects it’s citizens. Everything else they stand for is basically a lie to cover this up or they’ve drunk the kool aid and are active conspiracy theorists. Any time they push for letting states to decide something, they throw tantrums about them undermining the federal government when it doesn’t go their way. There’s nothing they hate more than people having rights.

      • Traveler says:

        Well said Ainsley7.
        They only invoke the “hatred of big government” farce when spending is used for the greater good, i.e. environmental protection, healthcare, social security, medicare, etc., etc., etc.

  2. 10KTurtle says:

    Berman might have gotten too close to indicting Ivanka, but the stench of desperation on Barr here makes me think he was trying to protect himself. Don’t forget he was mentioned on the Ukraine call as working with Rudy Colludy.

    • Jay says:

      “Rudy Colludy” 😏

      Who knows what precipitated this attempted ouster, but Berman has provided a useful template for others who deal with Trump – he is too cowardly to fire people directly.

      Also, do we think Trump ordered this to be done then denied it, or could this mean that Barr regularly acts for his own ends while pretending it’s “on behalf of the president”?

      • 10KTurtle says:

        I think he did this one himself and expected Trump to agree with whatever he does. Remember when he said something along the lines of “sometimes the President makes it hard for me to do my job?” They all forget Donald is an imbecile and can’t even understand when somebody is trying to do his dirty work for him.
        As I have said before, Republicans have made and continue to make two fatal errors:
        1. They have forgotten that no one is president forever. Maybe (please!) next year, maybe 2025, maybe 2029- we are all eventually going to see what they’re hiding on all those secure servers.
        2. Don’t pass legislation that you wouldn’t want used against you (changing the 2/3 majority rules, etc).
        This is going to be the end of the Republican party. They will never get the young people back and the old people who are ride-or-die just because they always have been GOP aren’t going to live forever. The Lincoln Project people will salvage what they can into some kind of new party for conservatives, and the Republican Party will just be the lunatic right fringe (which is not much different from what they have now, in my opinion).

      • Lizzie Bathory says:

        @10KTurtle ITA that Barr did this. And I think the other big error Trump allies keep making is failing to understand that Trump values loyalty *from* other people, never *to* other people. As Roy Cohn said, “Donald Trump pisses ice water.”

      • Jay says:

        Yes, I agree it’s more likely that Barr is acting on his own, certainly he seems to be carrying out actions without explicit direction from his disinterested commander in chief, which from a governing standpoint is terrifying! How will anyone know who is actually giving orders from the white house?

        Almost all of my limited understanding of American politics comes from watching the West Wing, so please forgive if there is something I’m missing:)

    • ODIE says:

      Yup. Barr said Trump made the call to fire him. Trump said that was a lie. Don’t we (Doesn’t he) deserve to know who fired him?

      Berman is not a good enemy to make. It was much mire safe to have him on staff. At least there was some motivation for him to tread lightly. Now, there is none. Hard to imagine what could have become so urgent that this spectacle seemed justifiable. Maybe Rudy threatened to roll on Trump if he didn’t get a friendly person on the case? He’s going to jail either way. Why bother?

      I’m sure we’ll find out someday.

  3. Mtec says:

    “ I don’t believe this was about Prince Andrew – I can’t see Barr pulling this kind of move *just* to protect Epstein’s party prince procurer”

    —Why do people keep forgetting Trump was directly involved with Epstein too. In fact both were named in a lawsuit together accused of sexually abusing and raping a 14 year old girl. Trump has a place very close to Epstein in Florida (where he allegedly committed most of his sexual abuse) and often would attend the same “parties.” Of course this also has something to do with Prince Andrew and Epstein. You’re right it’s not *just* for that reason that Barr is pulling this move, but it definitely is relevant to this situation with Andrew and Epstein.

    • Mac says:

      This is about Deutsche Bank. They are lender and launder for the world’s criminals. Barr is a mobster just like the rest of them.

    • Sean says:

      Don’t forget Barr has an indirect connection to Epstein as well via his father, Donald Barr.

      This was such a spectacular clusterf*ck. Barr says Berman is resigning. Berman counters, he’s not resigning and will only step down when a Congress-approved replacement is appointed. Barr then says the president ordered Berman be fired. Trump is then asked about this and says he had no idea and that it was “Barr’s thing”.

      It’s quite obvious SDNY has dirt on Barr. This happened late on Friday night. I’d wagwr Barr was trying to get ahead of something.

    • Call_me_al says:

      Good call Mtec. I haven’t forgotten about those very credible allegations in the court documents. It just “went away” during the campaign.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Trump himself was not only involved with Epstein but Epstein had multiple contact information for a teenage Ivanka. Would not surprise me one bit if Ivanka had been recruiting girls for Epstein.

  4. KellyRyan says:

    Andy, Epstein, Guliani, Cohen, Dumpty run wide and deep. I wonder if Dumpty’s move was an awareness he’s lost the election and once he’s out of office SDNY will pursue a case against him. If we’re fortunate to win both the presidency and gain seats in the Senate we’ll be on a clean up campaign, hopefully reinstating Berman.

  5. Cassandra says:

    A stunt like this makes me wonder if they’re even going to ~try~ to hide their election interference/fraud in November.

    • Shane says:

      They’re not trying to hide it, even now. Look how they’re suppressing voters

      • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

        Look at what they’re doing in Kentucky! #MoscowMitchTheBitch and #LadyG are running scared: they’re losing TWELVE HUNDRED POLLING PLACES!!!! FROM 1700 to 600…in predominantly POC neighborhoods. How can ANYONE say they’re not trying to steal the election by making it almost impossible for people to actually vote!

  6. Badrockandroll says:

    Follow the money … Trump has more than $500 million worth of loans with Deutsche Bank coming due in the next three years. Justice Kennedy’s son approved the loans, and Kennedy’s early retirement before he was replaced by Kavanaugh is somehow linked to this. Deutsche Bank has deep ties to Russian money launderers and mobsters. Barr has thousands invested with Deutsche Bank and with some of the Russian front organizations. Barr also has family and professional ties to Epstein. Deutsche Bank held loans and accounts for Epstein. SDNY served notice on Deutsche Bank a few weeks ago over Epstein and Prince Andrew accounts.
    Reading this over, it looks like I am wearing a tinfoil hat … it’s a conspiracy alright, but sadly not a theory.

    • KellyRyan says:

      Thank you. One of the posters on Cele mentioned the book House of Trump, House of Putin, Craig Unger. I’ve ordered the book, should arrive Mo or Tues. I don’t doubt what you’ve posted. I knew banks in America stopped giving loans to DT due to his frequent bankruptcies. Despite his media bravado his fear, (paranoia) must run deep. He continues to move toward greater financial exposure and a complete mental, financial collapse.

    • Also Ali says:

      And appointing the SEC chair to run SDNY would fix those pesky bank investigations but Berman did the country a solid.

      “ In light of Attorney General Barr’s decision to respect the normal operation of law and have Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss become Acting U.S. Attorney, I will be leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, effective immediately,”

      • Badrockandroll says:

        One of the first things Trump did was to fire Preet Bharara – Berman replaced him. Many of Trump’s firings – Comey, Bharara, Bolton and now Berman – haven’t worked out too well for him. Fake entrepreneur who can’t even live up to his reality show tagline: every time he hollers out you’re fired, it comes back to bite him on his ample a$$.

    • Jaded says:

      Exactly. Deutche Bank was raided a couple of times in 2018 and 2019 over money laundering and the Panama Papers. Danske Bank is also under investigation in several countries, including the United States, over suspicious payments totaling $220 billion moved through its tiny Estonian branch. Deutsche Bank acted as a correspondent bank for Danske.

      Trump+taxes+Deutsche Bank+Mnuchin+Barr = cover-up.

  7. Digital Unicorn says:

    Yeah, the DA’s office clearly has gotten far to close to something that has Dump and his cohorts sh!tting their diapers over.

    I hope the SDNY go public before Berman goes and is replaced with a GOP bot.

  8. aquarius64 says:

    Tin foil tiara – Berman was hounding Andrew lately. What if Buckingham Palace called the White House to make Andrew’s mess go away? Trump is tied to Epstein so I could see a fear of Pandora’s Box opening for Trump in this case.

    • Jay says:

      If that’s true then it was nearly as successful as Andrew’s “deficient sweat glands” interview in finally putting these allegations to rest!

    • Betsy says:

      I just can’t see that as something that would really bother Trump/Barr. Both of them have Epstein ties, but it’s not like Andrew would spill the beans on them. If it’s Epstein related, it’s something directly related to them, or LightPurple’s suggestion above about Ivanka recruiting more victims.

    • anon says:

      Lizzie lobbying for his favourite son…

  9. Nic919 says:

    The woman taking over Berman’s spot was the number two at the SDNY and she’s known for going after the mob. Berman didn’t fight the legal point once it was confirmed she was taking over. So they are on the same page.

    That said once Barr figures this out they will probably try to fire her as well.

    Complete authoritarian behaviour. Barr must be impeached.

    • ClaireB says:

      Yes, how much time will she have before a Republican puppet is appointed? Enough to get the job done?

      • Jay says:

        If I remember correctly, former SDNY DA Preet Bharara’s acting second in command had the job for almost a year before they even put forward Berman to replace, and nominating and confirming a new appointee in the Senate right now might bring unwanted scrutiny.

  10. Meg says:

    Many times ive felt like nothing matters and this is a glaring example of that
    I thought a democracy was a system of checks and balances, and i used to feel safe from dictators etc because of that, but laws mean nothing if no one enforces them and this GOP has shown they will enable this.

    • anon says:

      This GOP is a crime syndicate, we know which side they stand in regards to the law…

    • Joanna says:

      Yes! I always thought there were checks on the government and that we would be protected. I no longer believe that

  11. Diana says:

    I don’t get it…. can someone explain? So they are just going to get away with this and everyone rolls over??? Does Trump and Barr have to answer to anything or anyone at this point?! Can this just happen?! Can the Supreme Court weigh in?!