Reed Statement on Trump Admin’s Attempt to Oust U.S. Attorney
Sen. Reed: “It would be an absolute disgrace if President Trump is jeopardizing the integrity of our legal system in order to avoid legal jeopardy.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Last night Attorney General William Barr abruptly attempted to oust the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which has jurisdiction over several sensitive cases relating to the Trump Organization. But Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, a former law partner of Rudy Giuliani who was reportedly interviewed personally by President Trump before getting the job, announced he has no intention of stepping down. Mr. Berman stated he will remain on the job until his replacement is confirmed by the U.S. Senate in order “to ensure that this Office’s important cases continue unimpeded” and vowed to continue “our investigations.”
Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement:
“There are still some key unknowns, but it’s clear this Administration is in disarray and this President is willing to abuse the powers of the Executive branch.
“It would be an absolute disgrace if President Trump is jeopardizing the integrity of our legal system in order to avoid legal jeopardy.
“Mr. Berman’s statement suggests this attempted ouster is tied to an investigation or investigations. If that is the case, it would be a serious escalation of this Administration’s pattern of trying to subvert impartial justice.
“The American people deserve to know whether Mr. Berman’s ouster was ordered in the public interest, or to protect “Individual-1” from further criminal exposure.
“Attorney General Barr and President Trump must explain their actions.
“I agree with those urging SEC Chairman Clayton to reject this nomination and I hope the Senate will stand together to uphold the rule of law, Constitutional order, and principles.”
There are 93 U.S. attorney positions nationwide. U.S. attorneys are nominated by the President and then considered and voted upon by the U.S. Senate.
In March 2017, President Trump suddenly removed dozens of U.S. Attorneys who had served during the Obama Administration, which left their top deputies in charge on an interim basis. In January of 2018, Mr. Berman was appointed interim U.S. Attorney by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However, President Trump never formally sent Mr. Berman’s nomination to the U.S. Senate for consideration. After 120 days, Mr. Berman’s interim post expired. In response, U.S. District Court judges for the Southern District of New York unanimously appointed Mr. Berman to the post until the U.S. Senate confirmed his replacement. In order to begin the nomination process, the Trump Administration would have to notify the U.S. Senate of its intent to nominate someone and then send up paperwork for the Judiciary Committee to consider and approve before the full U.S. Senate could act.