Trump fires top U.S. prosecutor who refused to quit — Geoffrey Berman

A USA attorney being replaced by the Trump administration is refusing to step down, in possible defiance of the law.

Late Friday, Barr and the White House announced that Trump will nominate Jay Clayton, the current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to replace Berman.

"Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption", he continued. I have nothing to add to that this morning.

Mr. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of NY, and his team have been at the forefront of corruption inquiries in Mr. Trump's inner circle.

Attorney General William Barr asked Berman to resign in an in-person meeting in NY on Friday, the source said.

Federal prosecutors in NY have overseen numerous prosecutions and investigations with ties to Trump in recent years. "This is obviously false". We know SDNY has investigated President Donald Trump's conduct and allies in the past, including Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of MA said in a tweet that the move was "a naked abuse of power" and that Barr should resign and be impeached by Congress.

The duke's legal team said earlier this month Andrew had made three offers to give a witness statement, and a royal source described Mr Berman's comments as "frankly bewildering". At the time, Berman had already been installed in NY office.

Both were also witnesses in the impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats against Donald Trump over his 25 July telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the U.S. head of state purportedly tried to press Kiev to probe alleged corruption by Hunter Biden, who was linked to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Collins, who represented western NY, has since pleaded guilty and resigned.

"This late Friday night dismissal reeks of potential corruption of the legal process", tweeted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

"Given Senator Schumer's call for Jay Clayton to withdraw from SDNY consideration, this announcement by Senator Graham means Clayton's nomination is dead on arrival", he wrote.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, also a Democrat, said he intends to invite Mr Berman to testify.

"POTUS, but not Barr, can remove him", Marty Lederman, a Georgetown University law professor, said in a social media statement. "A previous action by this US Attorney or one that is ongoing?"

Referring to Geoffrey Berman, Barr said he had "done an excellent job leading one of our nation's most significant USA attorney's offices, achieving many successes on consequential civil and criminal matters".

Barr said Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss will take over until a permanent successor is in place. The people were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. He sometimes caught the ire of the White House as his office is reportedly investigating Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in a campaign finance case that has led to charges against two of former NY mayor's associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Cohen was recently released from a federal prison in NY to continue serving his sentence on home confinement over coronavirus concerns.

Since being appointed to the post in January 2018, Mr Berman has not shied from taking on powerful figures in Mr Trump's orbit.

The men were charged in October with federal campaign finance violations, including hiding the origin of a $325,000 donation to a group supporting Trump's re-election.

A Republican who contributed to the president's election campaign, Berman worked for the same law firm as Giuliani and was put in his job by the Trump administration.

But shortly after Barr broke this startling and suspicious news, Berman came out and directly contradicted the attorney general in an aggressively confrontational statement.

The federal attorney's statement, in which he also announced his intention "to ensure that this office's important cases continue unimpeded", was a rapid fire response to Barr's Friday statement saying that Berman "is stepping down". Bharara had refused to resign along with dozens of other federal prosecutors appointed by President Barack Obama.

Months later, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided Cohen's offices, an act the president decried as a politically motivated witch hunt.