Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has requested Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton to remove his name from consideration for the role of U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
"Forty-seven years ago, Elliott Richardson had the courage to say no to a gross abuse of presidential power," Schumer said in a statement. "Jay Clayton has a similar choice today: He can allow himself to be used in the brazen Trump-Barr scheme to interfere in investigations by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, or he can stand up to this corruption, withdraw his name from consideration, and save his own reputation from overnight ruin."
Attorney General Bill Barr said Friday he would nominate Clayton for the position and Geoffrey Berman, the current attorney general in Manhattan, was "stepping down."
Berman's office investigated President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen that ultimately sent him to jail. The office is also now probing Rudy Giuliani, Trump's current attorney.
Berman has said he will not resign from the position until the Senate confirms his replacement.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C, said he will wait to see if other senators support Clayton before moving forward with his nomination.
In a recent statement, Graham called Clayton a "fine man and accomplished lawyer," and said the administration has not contacted the nomination.
"As to processing U.S. Attorney nominations, it has always been the policy of the Judiciary Committee to receive blue slips from the home state senators before proceeding to the nomination," Graham said in a statement.
The move to force Berman's resignation has ignited outrage from Democrats who say its just another example of Trump politicizing the Department of Justice.
"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.
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