Trump fires US Attorney for Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman, but he has 'no intention of resigning'
President Donald Trump has fired Geoffrey Berman as a U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, ABC News sources familiar with the decision said.
The surprising move comes two years into a term in which Michael Cohen, Jeffrey Epstein and two Rudy Giuliani employees have been prosecuted.
The decision was made personally by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who offered other positions to a Department of Justice official opposite ABC News Berman, including the head of the Civil Department at Main Justice.
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He declined the offer and was then released. Craig Carpenito, the U.S. attorney in New Jersey, has been named to temporarily head the office.
Berman made a statement late Friday saying he had no intention of accepting the fire.
"I heard from the attorney general in a press release tonight that I was stepping down as a United States attorney," he said. "I have not resigned and have no intention of resigning from the position I was appointed by the United States District Court judge for the southern district of New York. I will resign if a candidate appointed by the President is confirmed by . " the Senate."
"Until then, our investigations will continue immediately or without interruption," he continued. "I appreciate every day that I work with the men and women of this office to pursue justice without fear or favor - and I intend to ensure that the important cases of this office continue unimpeded."
PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks during a round table about America's seniors in the White House cabinet room on Monday, June 15, 2020. (Evan Vucci / AP)
Trump intends to nominate Jay Clayton of the Securities and Exchange Commission to succeed Berman.
"The attorney general has known Jay Clayton for years and appreciates him," a Justice Department official told ABC News. "Jay was preparing to leave administration and return to New York. He was interested in SDNY. The Attorney General thought this was a good idea. He offered Berman other positions, including the head of the civil department at Main Justice. Berman declined off. That's that. "
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Berman's tenure included several politically sensitive investigations, such as the case against Trump's former personal lawyer Cohen. He was appointed provisional replacement for former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara in 2018 by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump failed to appoint him or another permanent replacement, and after 120 days, Berman District Court appointed Berman to the job.
By law, Berman serves until the position is filled.
When Berman refused to go quiet, he said that the office's investigation was continuing unabated. This would include an investigation into the President's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Berman's alleged dismissal is likely to send a shock wave through Washington as it appears before the release of former national security adviser John Bolton's book, in which Bolton describes an exchange Trump has had with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan across the southern district.
PHOTO: In this file, recorded October 10, 2019, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, speaks at a press conference in New York City. (Johannes Eisele / AFP via Getty Images, file)
According to Bolton, Trump said to Erdogan after Erdogan gave Trump a memo that a Turkish company investigated by SDNY was innocent: "He would take care of things and explain that the South District prosecutors were not his people, but Obama." a problem that would be fixed if his people replaced them. "
As ABC News has previously reported, Berman's office is believed to continue to actively investigate the President's personal lawyer, Giuliani, in connection with his contacts with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two main characters in the Ukrainian impeachment scandal.
Trump fires U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, Geoffrey Berman, but has no intention of resigning. It originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
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