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"Let me be absolutely clear on this. The removal of US Attorney Berman has absolutely nothing to do with his investigations of various corruption cases involving Mr Trump's associates. Having said that, I'm pleased to announce the nomination of his replacement who, while lacking any experience as a federal prosecutor, is a great "team player" with the right sort of political inclinations."

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"What he said."

 

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US Attorney Geoffrey Berman Denies He Is Stepping Down

 

 

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A top federal prosecutor has issued a statement saying he has not resigned, despite the US justice department announcing he was stepping down.

Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney in Manhattan, said he learned he was "stepping down" in a press release issued by US Attorney-General William Barr on Friday evening.

Mr Barr gave no reason for the move.

He said Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Jay Clayton would be nominated to succeed Mr Berman.

Mr Berman has overseen the prosecution of a number of US President Donald Trump's associates since he took office in 2018.

They include President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, who has served a prison sentence for lying to Congress, the US legislature, and election campaign finance fraud. Mr Berman's department has also been investigating the conduct of Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump's current personal lawyer.

He is also leading the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein and who earlier this month accused Prince Andrew of "shutting the door" on his probe.

In his statement, Mr Berman said had "no intention of resigning", adding he would only step down when a successor had been confirmed by Congress.

 

 
 
 

 

 

Mr Berman was appointed to his position by a court, making it unclear whether President Trump has the legal authority to remove him, BBC North America correspondent Anthony Zurcher says.

Senior Democrats have accused Mr Barr of politicising the US Justice Department and making legal decisions at the behest of President Trump.

The row comes days after former National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a book that President Trump had pressed Mr Berman's office to halt an investigation into the Turkish Halkbank in a bid to make a deal with Turkey's president.

What did Mr Barr say in his press release?

In his statement, Mr Barr -- a close ally of the president -- said Mr Berman was "stepping down" after two-and-a-half years in the post.

Mr Barr said Mr Berman had "done an excellent job", achieving "many successes on consequential civil and criminal matters", but gave no explanation for his resignation.

Mr Trump intended to nominate Mr Clayton, a man who has never served as a federal prosecutor, as Mr Berman's successor, Mr Barr said.

 

Mr Clayton's "management experience and expertise in financial regulation give him an ideal background" to lead the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, Mr Barr said.

The US attorney in New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, will serve as acting head of the office until Mr Clayton has been confirmed.

What did Mr Berman say?

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

He said judges for the Southern District of New York appointed him to the role, and would only step down when a presidentially appointed nominee was confirmed by the Senate.

Mr Berman added: "Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption. I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this office to pursue justice without fear or favour - and intend to ensure that this office's important cases continue unimpeded."

Who is Mr Berman and what other investigations has he been involved in?

Mr Berman, 60, was appointed in January 2018 after Mr Trump fired his predecessor, Preet Bharara, who had refused to resign.

Mr Berman is a long-time Republican donor, including to Mr Trump's presidential campaign.

He is reportedly investigating the business dealings of President Trump's personal lawyer, Mr Giuliani, who used to work for the same law firm as Mr Berman.

Mr Berman is also the prosecutor in charge of the investigation into sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and has previously expressed frustration over the Duke of York's role in the inquiry.

Earlier this month, Mr Berman said Prince Andrew - a former friend of Epstein - had "repeatedly declined our request" to schedule an interview. The duke's lawyers reject claims he has not co-operated.

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Top prosecutor may be latest target of Trump's wrath

Analysis box by Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter

Geoffrey Berman is not going quietly.

Attorney-General Barr may have thought replacing a top US prosecutor would be a smooth process. But Mr Berman -- by refusing to resign -- has shown he has other ideas.

Mr Berman also may have the law on his side, as this particular US attorney was appointed to his position by a court, not the president, making it unclear whether President Trump has the legal authority to remove him. A court may have to sort this out, too, creating a procedural headache the White House surely hoped to avoid.

Looming over all of this is the question of why the president, and his attorney general, felt compelled to do this now, just five months before election day. The suddenness of the dismissal, coupled with the fact that Mr Berman is overseeing an investigation into the president's personal lawyer, Mr Giuliani, amid other corruption inquiries are already prompting accusations of impropriety.

In the months since being acquitted in his impeachment trial, Trump has removed a number of government officials for apparently insufficient loyalty. Mr Berman may be the latest target -- albeit a stubborn one.

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What reaction has there been?

Writing on Twitter, Mr Bharara, said that the timing and manner of the move to replace Mr Berman was strange.

"Why does a president get rid of his own hand-picked US Attorney in SDNY (Southern District of New York) on a Friday night, less than five months before the election?" Mr Bharara said.

Democrat Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, said he was not surprised by the move, accusing Mr Barr of repeatedly interfering in "criminal investigations on Trump's behalf".

"We have a hearing on this topic on Wednesday," said Mr Nadler. "We welcome Mr Berman's testimony and will invite him to testify."

 
 

America is right to expect the worst of Bill Barr, who has repeatedly interfered in criminal investigations on Trump’s behalf. We have a hearing on this topic on Wednesday. We welcome Mr. Berman’s testimony and will invite him to testify. https://twitter.com/tom_winter/status/1274178371568766976 

 
 
 

Presentational white space

The Democratic leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer said Mr Berman's dismissal "reeks of potential corruption of the legal process.

"What is angering President Trump? A previous action by this US attorney or one that is ongoing?," he said.

 

 

 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-53117951

 

 

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Bravo Mr. President! Berman is the same moron that's a part of the "Lawfare Resistance" and has connections to Sessions and Rosenstein leading to a proxy connection to failed Leftist darling Bobby Mueller. By the way, he can't refuse to resign his post as outlined in this document meaning he's out the door on July 3rd!


Sack "The Buffalo Range's TRUSTED News Source!"

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

Parler @NYexile

 

 

 

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this is hardly settled law.  the fact that Berman publicly called Barr a liar and said expressly that the investigations will continue suggests Barr may be implicated directly in whatever it is that SDNY is investigating, not the least of whom is d00shbag Rudi...

The brain worm administration cant even do corruption correctly.  Berman shoved it down their throat and believe me, they are choking on it at the WH.

Standby for the wistleblowers....

 

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lol

 

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2 hours ago, Professor Pigworth said:

Sack, how nice to see you in another thread.  Could you remind us again of what president it was who voiced no objections to Berman being appointed by his hand-picked AG? And could you also remind us of how Berman's connections and affiliations could suddenly have gone all wrong when, in fact, he was as pro-Trump as anyone and contributed to the Trump campaign?  

Could it be that maybe Berman exercised the sort of independence and non-tribalism that Donald and his closest and most corrupt cronies don't like? It's just a guess on my part, but maybe Berman only "got bad" or "got moronic" when he began investigating the deep-rooted corruption that is running rampant through the Donald administration.

Trump but that was before Berman decided to be a part of the soft coup... now he's paying for it.

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Sack "The Buffalo Range's TRUSTED News Source!"

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

Parler @NYexile

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, 212frawk said:

this is hardly settled law.  the fact that Berman publicly called Barr a liar and said expressly that the investigations will continue suggests Barr may be implicated directly in whatever it is that SDNY is investigating, not the least of whom is d00shbag Rudi...

The brain worm administration cant even do corruption correctly.  Berman shoved it down their throat and believe me, they are choking on it at the WH.

Standby for the wistleblowers....

Rudy is absolutely at the center of one of the investigations. This whole thing is Trump/Barr trying to set the stage for any legal challenges to the Nov election, not to mention a shot at getting current SDNY investigations of Trump and associates dropped.

Typical mob-style actions of The Donald

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“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

 

Twitter: @HKTheResistance

 

HipKat, on *** other h***, is genuine, unapoli***tically nasty, and w**** his hea** on his ******. jc856

I’ll just forward them to Bridgett. comssvet11

Seek help. soflabillsfan

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No, not corrupt at all....

Trump Fires U.S. Attorney Who Investigated His Associates

Attorney William P. Barr said on Saturday that President Trump had fired the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who has investigated the president’s closest associates, deepening a crisis over the independence of law enforcement and the president’s purge of officials he views as disloyal.


Mr. Trump removed the prosecutor, Geoffrey S. Berman, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, after he had refused to step down on Friday night. The president’s announcement capped an extraordinary clash over an office that has been at the forefront of corruption inquiries into Mr. Trump’s inner circle.

The office successfully prosecuted the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who went to prison, and has been investigating Mr. Trump’s current personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Mr. Barr had abruptly announced the resignation late Friday night of Mr. Berman, but Mr. Berman then quickly issued a statement denying that he was leaving. “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position,” Mr. Berman said, adding that he had learned that he was “stepping down” from a Justice Department news release.

In a statement released on Saturday, Mr. Barr said Mr. Berman had “chosen public spectacle over public service.”

“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,” the statement read. He said Mr. Berman’s top deputy, Audrey Strauss, would become the acting United States Attorney.


The dispute over one of the Justice Department’s most prestigious jobs came as the agency had already been roiled by questions over whether Mr. Barr had undercut its tradition of independence from political interference.


Mr. Barr’s announcement late Friday that Mr. Trump was seeking to replace Mr. Berman was made with no notice. Mr. Barr said the president intended to nominate as Mr. Berman’s successor Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who has never served as a prosecutor.


Mr. Barr asked Mr. Berman to resign, but he refused, so Mr. Barr moved to fire him, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Trump had been discussing removing Mr. Berman for some time with a small group of advisers, the person said. Mr. Trump has been upset with Mr. Berman ever since the Manhattan prosecutor’s office pursued a case against Mr. Cohen.


At some point during their conversation, Mr. Barr suggested to Mr. Berman that he might take over the civil division of the Justice Department if he agreed to leave the position in Manhattan, according to a person familiar with the conversation.


Mr. Barr’s attempt to fire Mr. Berman had received unexpected pushback from Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a close Trump ally.


Mr. Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — which would approve Mr. Clayton’s nomination — suggested in a statement that he would allow New York’s two Democratic senators to thwart the nomination through a procedural maneuver.


He complimented Mr. Clayton but said he had not heard from the administration about his planned nomination.


Mr. Trump’s purge of officials has intensified in the months since the Republican-led Senate acquitted him in the impeachment trial. He has fired or forced out inspectors general with independent oversight over executive branch agencies and other key figures from the trial.


Several dismissals have come late on Friday nights, a time that many White Houses have used to disclose news that they would prefer receive little attention.
The highly public tussle between Mr. Barr and Mr. Berman that unfolded late on Friday was another example of the tumult that has engulfed the Justice Department in recent months.


The attorney general’s interventions in high-profile cases involving the onetime Trump advisers Roger J. Stone Jr. and Michael T. Flynn have prompted accusations from current and former law enforcement officials that Mr. Barr has politicized the department.


Mr. Berman’s office has taken an aggressive approach in a number of cases that have vexed the Trump administration, from the prosecution and guilty plea obtained from Mr. Cohen to a broader investigation, growing out of that inquiry, which focused on Mr. Trump’s private company and others close to him.


Over the last year, Mr. Berman’s office brought indictments against two close associates of the president’s current lawyer, Mr. Giuliani, and began an investigation into Mr. Giuliani himself, focusing on whether his efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on the president’s political rivals violated laws on lobbying for foreign entities.


Mr. Berman’s office also conducted an investigation into Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee, subpoenaing financial and other records as part of a broad inquiry into possible illegal contributions from foreigners.

Mr. Barr also announced that on his recommendation, Mr. Trump had appointed Craig Carpenito, the current U.S. attorney for New Jersey, to serve as acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan while the Senate considers Mr. Clayton’s nomination. Mr. Barr said Mr. Carpenito’s appointment would be effective July 3.


Mr. Barr’s move to dismiss Mr. Berman came just days after Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, alleged in a new book that Mr. Trump sought to interfere in an investigation by Mr. Berman’s office into a Turkish bank, in a bid to cut deals with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan is perhaps the most famous federal prosecutor’s post in the country. The office, through Democratic and Republican administrations, has long prized a tradition of independence from the Justice Department and Washington. It has even been nicknamed the “Sovereign District of New York.”
Mr. Berman worked there in the 1990s as a prosecutor, but he took over the office under atypical circumstances.


A Republican who contributed to the president’s campaign and worked at the same law firm as Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Berman was never formally nominated for the position by Mr. Trump or confirmed by the Senate, as is normal protocol for United States attorneys.


In 2018, the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, appointed Mr. Berman as interim United States attorney in Manhattan.
But Mr. Trump never formally sent Mr. Berman’s nomination to the Senate. After 120 days, his formal appointment to the post was made by the judges of the United States District Court.


Mr. Berman took note of the nature of his appointment to the position in explaining why he was refusing to step down.


“I was appointed by the judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York,” Mr. Berman said in his statement. “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.”


U.S. attorneys are typically replaced by their first assistants, but Mr. Trump’s choice to replace Mr. Berman is an outsider who has never worked in that office.
Mr. Clayton is not a litigator or a former prosecutor, which often are prerequisites to being named a United States attorney, especially in a jurisdiction as prominent as the Southern District.


 

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“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

 

Twitter: @HKTheResistance

 

HipKat, on *** other h***, is genuine, unapoli***tically nasty, and w**** his hea** on his ******. jc856

I’ll just forward them to Bridgett. comssvet11

Seek help. soflabillsfan

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And then he follows it up with a lie

Trump on firing of Geoffrey Berman: 'I'm not involved'

Attorney General Bill Barr said in a letter Saturday that President Donald Trump had fired Geoffrey Berman, the powerful prosecutor atop the Manhattan US Attorney's office who has investigated Trump's allies, after Berman refused Barr's effort a day prior to oust him.


"Unfortunately, with your statement of last night, you have chosen public spectacle over public service," Barr said in his letter to Berman. "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."


But Trump said Saturday he wasn't involved with the decision.


"Well, that's all up to the attorney general. Attorney General Barr is working on that," Trump said on the South Lawn ahead of his departure for his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "That's his department, not my department. But we have a very capable attorney general so that's really up to him. I'm not involved."


The remarkable escalation comes after Barr tried to remove Berman on Friday, but Berman defied Barr by refusing to step down. In an extraordinary statement sent roughly an hour after Barr said Berman was set to leave the office, Berman said he had learned of his purported exit from a press release.


"I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate," Berman said. 


Barr's letter Saturday noted that "by operation of law," Berman's current deputy, Audrey Strauss, will become Acting US Attorney, "and I anticipate that she will serve in that capacity until a permanent successor is in place." On Friday evening, Barr said he intends to nominate as Berman's permanent successor Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who has never been a prosecutor.


Barr's effort to push out one of the most powerful prosecutors in the country had begun to run into headwinds Saturday, with Republicans signaling little appetite to fight to confirm a new US attorney amid Democratic accusations that the move was an effort to shield Trump's associates from federal investigation.


Republicans on Capitol Hill were blindsided by the late Friday night effort by Barr to seek the ouster of Berman and showed little willingness to confirm a new nominee without Democratic support -- meaning there's a real possibility that the nomination of Jay Clayton to replace him could languish and Berman could stay at the post indefinitely.
The fast-moving developments seemed to catch by surprise Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump's and Barr's, who said Saturday he had not been told about the effort to fire Berman.


And in a significant announcement Saturday, Graham announced that he will honor tradition to let home-state senators sign off on a replacement for Berman's post, meaning that Democrats essentially have veto power over a replacement to a position considered the most powerful US attorney job in the country.


Berman, seemingly undeterred by the controversy, showed up to work Saturday morning, telling reporters: "I'm just here to do my job."

 

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“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

 

Twitter: @HKTheResistance

 

HipKat, on *** other h***, is genuine, unapoli***tically nasty, and w**** his hea** on his ******. jc856

I’ll just forward them to Bridgett. comssvet11

Seek help. soflabillsfan

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5 minutes ago, HipKat said:

And then he follows it up with a lie

Trump on firing of Geoffrey Berman: 'I'm not involved'

Attorney General Bill Barr said in a letter Saturday that President Donald Trump had fired Geoffrey Berman, the powerful prosecutor atop the Manhattan US Attorney's office who has investigated Trump's allies, after Berman refused Barr's effort a day prior to oust him.


"Unfortunately, with your statement of last night, you have chosen public spectacle over public service," Barr said in his letter to Berman. "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."


But Trump said Saturday he wasn't involved with the decision.


"Well, that's all up to the attorney general. Attorney General Barr is working on that," Trump said on the South Lawn ahead of his departure for his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "That's his department, not my department. But we have a very capable attorney general so that's really up to him. I'm not involved."


The remarkable escalation comes after Barr tried to remove Berman on Friday, but Berman defied Barr by refusing to step down. In an extraordinary statement sent roughly an hour after Barr said Berman was set to leave the office, Berman said he had learned of his purported exit from a press release.


"I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate," Berman said. 


Barr's letter Saturday noted that "by operation of law," Berman's current deputy, Audrey Strauss, will become Acting US Attorney, "and I anticipate that she will serve in that capacity until a permanent successor is in place." On Friday evening, Barr said he intends to nominate as Berman's permanent successor Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who has never been a prosecutor.


Barr's effort to push out one of the most powerful prosecutors in the country had begun to run into headwinds Saturday, with Republicans signaling little appetite to fight to confirm a new US attorney amid Democratic accusations that the move was an effort to shield Trump's associates from federal investigation.


Republicans on Capitol Hill were blindsided by the late Friday night effort by Barr to seek the ouster of Berman and showed little willingness to confirm a new nominee without Democratic support -- meaning there's a real possibility that the nomination of Jay Clayton to replace him could languish and Berman could stay at the post indefinitely.
The fast-moving developments seemed to catch by surprise Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump's and Barr's, who said Saturday he had not been told about the effort to fire Berman.


And in a significant announcement Saturday, Graham announced that he will honor tradition to let home-state senators sign off on a replacement for Berman's post, meaning that Democrats essentially have veto power over a replacement to a position considered the most powerful US attorney job in the country.


Berman, seemingly undeterred by the controversy, showed up to work Saturday morning, telling reporters: "I'm just here to do my job."

How do you know if Trump is lying? His lips are moving.

 

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L*t is a loser

 

My adapt a Bill is Brandon Beane.

 

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You're f-f-f-fired!

barr-statement-1-berman-v1.jpg

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Sack "The Buffalo Range's TRUSTED News Source!"

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

Parler @NYexile

 

 

 

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Trump’s Latest Firing May Have Violated Four Core Values Of American Democracy

 

President Trump’s firing of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in charge of investigating major crimes in the influential Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan, is another move by the Trump administration that, though likely legal and not totally unprecedented, appears to violate core democratic values.

The firing was dramatic, with Attorney General William Barr announcing late on Friday night Berman’s resignation and a replacement. Berman issued a statement roughly an hour later saying that he had not resigned and that Barr personally did not have the right to fire him due to the nature of his appointment.1 So on Saturday afternoon, Trump himself fired Berman, and Barr designated a different person to replace Berman than the one he had named on Friday. The firing was also somewhat surprising given that Berman is a longtime Republican who not only donated to Trump’s first presidential campaign but also served on his transition team.

Yet underlying all the drama is something we’ve gotten used to in the Trump era: the breaking of democratic norms and values, which are two distinct concepts. As we’ve written about before, values are fundamental principles (e.g., free speech), whereas norms are the unwritten rules we abide by (don’t cut in line) that sometimes reinforce those values (Supreme Court justices don’t endorse political candidates, thereby bolstering the independence of the judicial and executive branches) but also sometimes don’t. So let’s look at Trump’s firing of Berman in the context of some of those values.2

Equal justice under the law

Under Berman’s leadership, the Southern District was reportedly investigating Trump lawyer and ally Rudy Giuliani, including Giuliani’s dealings with Ukranian officials that were scrutinized as part of the impeachment inquiry against Trump. We don’t know the status of that investigation, whether Giuliani was likely to face criminal charges or even whether that investigation was a factor in the decision to oust Berman. There is some logic to the idea that Department of Justice prosecutors should avoid making decisions close to the election that might influence its outcome — indicting the president’s attorney is arguably such an example. In fact, Democrats in 2016 criticized then-FBI Director James Comey on these grounds, when he announced less than two weeks before Election Day that he was reviewing new evidence involving Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

That said, if Trump and Barr were trying to protect Giuliani (and therefore Trump), it fits a pattern of Barr’s Justice Department seeming to extend special treatment to Trump allies. In February, DOJ officials overruled career prosecutors and asked for a significantly lighter sentence for longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of justice. All four prosecutors withdrew from the case — and one resigned — in protest of the decision. Even more unusual was the decision in May by a Barr-appointed U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., to drop charges against Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, even though Flynn had already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Not only did a career prosecutor quit that case as well, but federal appeals judges are considering not allowing the Justice Department to drop the charges.

The democratic value at play here is equal justice under the law — a person should not get unusually lenient treatment by the Justice Department if he or she is an ally of the president’s. Arguably, previous presidents have violated this value — for example, as he was leaving office, Bill Clinton pardoned the ex-husband of a major Democratic Party donor.

Independence of law enforcement

The most alarming potential explanation of what happened to Berman is that Barr tried to fire him specifically for investigating Giuliani. A milder version may be that the Southern District, under Berman’s leadership, demonstrated that it did not care about Trump’s preferences and would investigate whichever crimes it deemed important, no matter the potential ramifications for Trump. Two years ago, the Southern District persuaded onetime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to plead guilty to a number of crimes, including violating campaign finance law, with Cohen suggesting his illegal behavior came at Trump’s behest. (It’s worth noting that Berman recused himself from that case.)

So Barr and Trump may consider Berman insufficiently loyal to their interests and fear he would bring charges that would reflect badly on Trump or Republicans, even if Berman didn’t bring forward a case clearly linked to the president.

Indeed, the Trump administration has a long record of demoting, reassigning, firing or otherwise sidelining law enforcement officials who show independence from the White House: Comey, former FBI general counsel James Baker, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump or his allies often hinted that Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller would be fired during their tenures as FBI deputy director and DOJ special counsel, respectively, in a manner seemingly designed to intimidate them. Trump has also recently complained about current FBI Director Christopher Wray and hinted that he could be fired.

And Barr has implied that the Justice Department will seek to bring charges against those involved with initiating the investigations of the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia — in effect, criminalizing efforts that bring scrutiny to the president.

Again, it is not unprecedented for presidents to replace law enforcement officials. Presidents in both parties traditionally replace with their own choices all the U.S. attorneys appointed by the previous administration, which often results in a wide partisan swap. As president, Clinton fired the FBI director, and most notably, in what came to be known as the “Saturday Night Massacre,” then-President Richard Nixon purged the senior leadership of the Justice Department for refusing to quash an investigation of him — he was impeached and forced to resign in part because of these moves.

The democratic value at stake here is the independence of law enforcement. That ideal, that their decisions should be divorced from politics, is hard to maintain if key law enforcement officials are constantly worried about being fired by the president, attorney general or anyone else for political reasons.

Accountability and oversight

It’s worth thinking about the initial bid to fire Berman on Friday night, because that is in part what made this move so problematic at first glance. It appeared to be an attempt by Barr and Trump to install at the top of an important law enforcement agency (the Southern District of New York) someone more likely to be friendly to their interests. Generally, when a political appointee like a U.S. attorney leaves, he or she is replaced by the No. 2 person in that office, usually a career civil service employee not formally aligned with either party. But on Friday Barr announced that Berman would be temporarily replaced by Craig Carpenito, a U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, a close ally of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another Trump loyalist.

This is a pattern for Trump: removing the leaders of various government agencies or departments, ignoring normal succession procedures and passing over the people who would normally step in, and instead replacing them with Trump allies. The temporary replacement’s role is essentially to do Trump’s bidding in a way that the removed person would not. The most prominent example of this was when, after the 2018 midterm elections, Trump replaced Sessions with his chief of staff at the time, Matt Whitaker. Often, as in the case of Berman, Trump has removed someone appointed in a process he did not totally control (usually Senate confirmation — in Berman’s case, he was installed by the judges of the Southern District) with someone chosen solely by Trump for that particular role.

Trump’s controlling the executive branch in this way — minimizing the oversight of other branches — weakens checks on his executive power. In this instance, however, Berman’s own chief deputy, Audrey Strauss, stepped into the role.

That said, that Carpenito never actually made it into Berman’s former position doesn’t mean the move wasn’t still problematic in terms of oversight. In indicting one Trump lawyer (Cohen) and investigating another (Giuliani), the Southern District under Berman’s leadership was effectively conducting oversight of the president, since Giuliani in particular was basically executing Trump’s policy goals with Ukraine (pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden). Berman’s firing suggests Trump was unhappy with that oversight and wants to limit it.

Trump’s attempts to stop oversight of his policy moves is also part of a pattern. He has essentially refused to comply with any congressional investigations into his administration. And over the past few months, he has fired a number of the inspectors general at federal agencies, the people formally charged with scrutinizing the executive branch. The intelligence community inspector general played a key role in bringing forward the whistleblower’s complaints about the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine, leading to the president’s impeachment. Trump seems to now view all inspectors general as threats to his administration.

The democratic value at play here is oversight of the executive branch. The Senate’s role in confirming executive branch appointees and the presence of inspectors general are ways in which a president in theory is not able to do whatever he wants with the executive branch. Trump seems unwilling to abide by these constraints. Having his personal lawyer conduct foreign policy puts that person out of the purview of the Senate or inspectors general. Firing the U.S. attorney whose office was investigating the president’s lawyer signals that the president’s lawyer and the sphere of policy he is implementing is off limits.

Media and public scrutiny

The Berman firing, like the removals of several inspectors general, was done on a Friday night. This is not the most important of these violations of democratic values. Previous presidents — and plenty of other people outside of politics, for that matter — “dump” bad news on Friday nights, hoping it will get less media coverage as journalists take off for the weekend.

That said, these firings are important for the reasons I have laid out above. Trump’s seeming desire to obscure them suggests he wants to avoid careful examination of decisions that he no doubt is aware will be controversial.

Media and public scrutiny of presidential decisions is a core democratic value as well, even if other presidents have also neglected to maintain it.

And, again, this is a pattern for Trump. In the past few weeks, he and his aides have sought to get CNN to retract — and apologize for — a poll showing Trump trailing Biden and to block the publication of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book, which is critical of Trump. Presidents often complain about polls and dislike books critical of them but Trump’s actions go beyond those more traditional objections.

We recently wrote about how the administration’s decision to use chemical agents and rubber bullets on protesters outside the White House violated several democratic values. Key officials involved in that incident now seem to regret it. The firing of Berman may also backfire on Trump. It could embolden more people, including some Republicans, to start criticizing the president for politicizing law enforcement decisions.

Berman’s decision to resist his firing and administration officials’ distancing themselves from the White House protest incident suggest something else that should worry Trump: People in his administration may be reading and believing polls showing him trailing Biden, thinking Trump is likely to lose reelection in November and becoming more unwilling to do questionable things to stay in good standing with a man who may not be president come January.

 

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“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

 

Twitter: @HKTheResistance

 

HipKat, on *** other h***, is genuine, unapoli***tically nasty, and w**** his hea** on his ******. jc856

I’ll just forward them to Bridgett. comssvet11

Seek help. soflabillsfan

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1 hour ago, HipKat said:

That was great but Barr already made sure all angles were legally covered because he knew Nadler would cry "impeachment!" Your source is bunk.

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Sack "The Buffalo Range's TRUSTED News Source!"

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

Parler @NYexile

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, SackMan518 said:

That was great but Barr already made sure all angles were legally covered because he knew Nadler would cry "impeachment!" Your source is bunk.

If you can't read the above posts and see that this is self-interested corruption, then you can't use your critical thinking skills. Herr Barr is Trump's Roy Cohn and if Roy Cohn is in charge of our justice system, heaven help the Republic.

SackMan, please stop it already. Use your brain and think, Man!

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17 hours ago, SackMan518 said:

That was great but Barr already made sure all angles were legally covered because he knew Nadler would cry "impeachment!" Your source is bunk.

Think about what you and Tucker and Sean and all the rest of the Hitler Youth would say if Obama had fired a prosecutor like this. I'm sure you would have been fine with it, right?

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1 hour ago, Kelly's Heroes said:

If you can't read the above posts and see that this is self-interested corruption, then you can't use your critical thinking skills. Herr Barr is Trump's Roy Cohn and if Roy Cohn is in charge of our justice system, heaven help the Republic.

SackMan, please stop it already. Use your brain and think, Man!

Let him think what he wants. Because it was reported this morning that Congress is getting ready to do a thorough investigation of AG Bill Barr. There seems to be some confusion. The president’s attorney is the White House Council,  it the US AG, but Bill seems to think he is the president’s attorney. Somehow he lost the memo about him being the People’s attorney. 


“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production.

Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

 

Twitter: @HKTheResistance

 

HipKat, on *** other h***, is genuine, unapoli***tically nasty, and w**** his hea** on his ******. jc856

I’ll just forward them to Bridgett. comssvet11

Seek help. soflabillsfan

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3 hours ago, Kelly's Heroes said:

Think about what you and Tucker and Sean and all the rest of the Hitler Youth would say if Obama had fired a prosecutor like this. I'm sure you would have been fine with it, right?

Depends on if the guy was any good or not.

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Sack "The Buffalo Range's TRUSTED News Source!"

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

Parler @NYexile

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Kelly's Heroes said:

If you can't read the above posts and see that this is self-interested corruption, then you can't use your critical thinking skills. Herr Barr is Trump's Roy Cohn and if Roy Cohn is in charge of our justice system, heaven help the Republic.

SackMan, please stop it already. Use your brain and think, Man!

I love Roy Cohn, he was instrumental in helping Joe McCarthy's attempts to remove Communists from our government. They ultimately failed but we need more guys like Roy Cohn, I'm sure he told Trump all about the scumbags he'd find at the highest levels of government that you support.

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Sack "The Buffalo Range's TRUSTED News Source!"

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

Parler @NYexile

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, HipKat said:

Let him think what he wants. Because it was reported this morning that Congress is getting ready to do a thorough investigation of AG Bill Barr. There seems to be some confusion. The president’s attorney is the White House Council,  it the US AG, but Bill seems to think he is the president’s attorney. Somehow he lost the memo about him being the People’s attorney. 

Bring it on.......

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3 hours ago, Kelly's Heroes said:

Think about what you and Tucker and Sean and all the rest of the Hitler Youth would say if Obama had fired a prosecutor like this. I'm sure you would have been fine with it, right?

LOL

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1 minute ago, SackMan518 said:

I love Roy Kohn, he was instrumental in helping Joe McCarthy's attempts to remove Communists from our government. They ultimately failed but we need more guys like Roy Kohn, I'm sure he told Trump all about the scumbags he'd find at the highest levels of government that you support.

Yep

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Well here we go, seems Berman was a party to the impeachment fiasco by his inaction to do anything in his realm as well as explains why Rudy Giuliani was ever involved in any of this. Later asshole, don't let the door hit ya!

 

Fired NY prosecutor was given Biden-Ukraine allegations in 2018 but didn’t follow up, emails show: Ukraine prosecutors didn't want the political spectacle that became impeachment and simply sought to turn over evidence about Joe Biden and election interference to U.S. prosecutors, memos show.

(Salient points highlighted for your skimming pleasure.)

Could the impeachment scandal have been prevented if the now-fired U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman had followed up on Ukrainian allegations about Joe Biden and his family in 2018?

That’s the tantalizing question raised by emails from fall 2018 between an American lawyer and the chief federal prosecutor in Manhattan that were obtained by Just the News.

The memos show that well before Ukrainian prosecutors reached out to Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer, in 2019 to talk about the Bidens and alleged 2016 election interference they first approached Berman’s office in New York in October 2018 via another American lawyer.

The memos show Little Rock, Ark., lawyer Bud Cummins, a former U.S. attorney himself, reached out at least five times in October 2018 to Berman seeking to arrange a meeting with then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.

Lutsenko, who emerged as a key figure in the impeachment scandal, wanted to confidentially share with federal prosecutors in New York evidence he claimed to possess that raised concerns about the Bidens’ behavior as well as alleged wrongdoing in the Paul Manafort corruption case.

“Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko is offering to come to U.S. meet with high-level law enforcement to share the fruits of investigations within Ukraine which have produced evidence of two basic alleged crimes,” Cummins wrote Berman on Oct. 4, 2018, one day after the two had talked on the phone about the allegations.

The allegations included that Joe Biden had “exercised influence to protect Burisma Holdings” after his son Hunter and his son’s business partner Devon Archer had joined the Ukrainian gas company’s board of directors and “substantial sums of money were paid to them,” Cummins wrote.

At the time Hunter Biden and Archer joined Burisma in 2014, the company was under criminal investigation in both England and Ukraine for alleged corruption. The British case was dropped in 2015, and the Ukraine cases were eventually settled in the final days of the Obama administration.

Joe Biden boasted during a 2018 public appearance that he forced the firing on Lutsenko's predecessor, Viktor Shokin, back in 2016by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine. At the time, Shokin was leading the investigation into Burisma. Biden denies the investigation factored into his decision.

Biden’s and Archer’s firm received more than $3 million in payments from Burisma between 2014 and 2016, bank records obtained by the FBI show.

Records recently released by the State Department also show Hunter Biden and Archer had contacts in 2015 and 2016 with senior State officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken.

In addition, Burisma’s U.S. representatives were lobbying the State Department in Washington and the U.S. embassy in Kiev seeking to make the corruption allegations go away, the State memos released under FOIA show.

“The allegation by Prosecutor General Lutsenko et al is that the US ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, Biden and Kerry made conclusions about who were the good guys and the bad guys in local government. They believe Biden and Kerry were influenced by payments to Hunter Biden and Devon Archer to influence certain decisions, particularly those benefitting Burisma,” Cummins wrote, relaying the allegations from the Ukrainian officials.

In addition, Cummins told Berman that Lutsenko had evidence that a ledger found in Ukraine in 2016 alleging to show payments to Manafort from a Russian-backed political party in Ukraine was doctored and the U.S. knew the evidence was corrupted. The emergence of the ledger caused Manafort to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman in August 2016, and eventually led to his conviction on money laundering and tax charges.

“The second allegation above is that the Embassy and FBI willfully pressured Ukrainian officials to falsify evidence to be leaked to the media about Manafort to affect the outcome of the 2016 election,” Cummins wrote Berman.

Cummins said in an interview he had one phone call and four email contacts with Berman in October 2018 about the Ukrainian matter, but the prosecutor’s office never took Lutsenko up on his offer to come to Washington and lay out his evidence.

“I never heard from them again,” Cummins said of Berman’s office. “It was an opportunity for the Justice Department to address these concerns privately, and who knows how history would have turned out had the SDNY simply followed up.”

Berman, instead, would eventually indict two associates of Giuliani on campaign finance and other charges after they tried to help the former New York City mayor and Trump lawyer publicize the Ukraine prosecutors' concerns. (One of the indicted associates, Lev Parnas, worked as a translator and interview facilitator for this reporter on a handful of Ukraine interviews in 2019, but prosecutors do not allege he did anything wrong in that work.)

James Margolin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in New York, declined comment Monday when asked about the Cummins overture in 2018.

Cummins said he was not representing Lutsenko as his client, but rather a Ukrainian-American citizen who was trying to help the prosecutor general get information into U.S. authorities' hands.

Cummins’ email states that Lutsenko wanted to meet with Berman because the U.S. attorney’s office in New York had successfully prosecuted Archer on unrelated charges earlier in 2018. Archer’s conviction, however, was overturned by a judge, and Berman’s office never retried the case.

Cummins' efforts to help arrange the meeting were confirmed by one of Lutsenko's deputies, Konstantin Kulyk, who said last year that Ukrainian authorities repeatedly tried to convey evidence about possible wrongdoing by Americans to the U.S. Justice Department but were thwarted.

Lutsenko said in an interview last year that when Cummins’ efforts failed to get an audience with the Justice Department he reached out to Giuliani, hoping to find a different channel to get information investigated.

It was those contacts that eventually spurred the entire impeachment inquiry, which ended in January in the Senate’s acquittal of Trump.

Democrats have tried to portray Giuliani’s activities as an effort to dig up dirt on Trump’s 2020 rival, and to get Ukrainian officials to launch a probe of Biden.

But Cummins’ emails make clear Ukrainian authorities weren’t interested in investigating the Bidens on Ukrainian law violations. Rather, they wanted to confidentially provide evidence of possible violations of U.S. law so American authorities could investigate. And they had no interest initially in involving the Trump White House. Rather, they simply wanted to share evidence with U.S. authorities at the prosecutor-to-prosecutor level.

Cummins’ emails to Berman make clear that Lutsenko did not trust the U.S. embassy in Kiev or the FBI to review the materials, fearing they were too political.

“Lutsenko faces political hurdles in getting a visa to come here. It is believed that the embassy in Kiev has blocked his obtaining a visa in the past. He believes it is because the US ambassador knows the nature of his investigation and wants to obstruct him from coming and sharing it,” Cummins wrote Berman on Oct. 4, 2018.

Five days later, Cummins wrote that Lutsenko was prepared to deliver serious evidence, including copies of two ledgers in the Manafort case that Ukrainian prosecutors believed were faked

“Presumably he will be prepared to discuss eyewitness testimony he believes will corroborate both this story and also the separate bribery allegations,” Cummins wrote.

When Berman stopped responding, Cummins offered to have Lutsenko meet with a lower-ranking federal prosecutor simply to transfer the evidence. “Perhaps you can provide at least one trusted prosecutor and trusted agent to meet with a couple of the actual investigators and just let them take down the information like they would if any citizen walked in the door with some information to share,” Cummins wrote on Oct. 18, 2018.

There was never any further response, Cummins said.

Ukrainian officials have said they did not believe the Bidens broke Ukrainian law but may have engaged in conflicts of interest prohibited by U.S. law. The concerns about the Bidens engaging in conflicts of interest were confirmed by U.S. officials as well.

During impeachment testimony last fall, both Yovanovitch and her top deputy in the Kiev embassy, George Kent, testified that Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma while his father oversaw U.S.-Ukraine policy created the “appearance of a conflict of interest.” Kent said he even tried to raise his concerns with Biden’s VP office but was rebuffed.

All federal officials are required by federal ethics laws to avoid taking actions that create the appearance of a conflict of interest.

 


Sack "The Buffalo Range's TRUSTED News Source!"

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” ~ Dresden James

Parler @NYexile

 

 

 

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