The release of the full transcript of former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee makes Attorney General William Barr’s already strained and nonsensical case to dismiss Berman look even worse, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
Berman’s sworn testimony indicates that Barr lied when he released a statement saying that Berman had stepped down from his position heading the Southern District of New York, according to an analysis by the Post’s Aaron Blake.
Even more, Berman said he repeatedly told Barr that even though he felt Securities and Exchange Commission head Jay Clayton was unqualified for the position because he has no experience as a criminal prosecutor, Berman told the attorney general he would step aside if and when Clayton was confirmed, as he respected the process carried out the proper way.
But instead Barr chose to make the situation messy, saying in his statement that Berman had resigned and would be replaced in an acting capacity by the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, with Clayton being nominated for the permanent role.
Berman quickly denied he had stepped aside.
Blake pointed out that Barr’s entire maneuver looked like an attempt to push out someone who posed a threat to President Donald Trump, because Berman’s office had investigated the president’s allies and even implicated Trump in his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s guilty plea for a campaign finance violation.
Berman’s testimony “reinforces the almost inescapable conclusion that this was truly about removing him rather than installing Clayton,” Blake wrote.
He said this raises the question why this needed to be handled so quickly instead of keeping it orderly as Berman promised to do if it was handled in the proper way.
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