Jul 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Ousted former U.S. attorney for SDNY to testify before House Judiciary Committee

Berman in a suit and tie
Berman in October 2019 in New York City. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Geoffrey Berman, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, is scheduled to testify to the House Judiciary Committee next week on the circumstances of his forced resignation, Politico reports, citing a congressional aide.

Why it matters: As the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, Berman oversaw high-profile cases that worried and angered President Trump and his inner circle, including an investigation into his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. His removal has added to allegations by Democrats that Attorney General Bill Barr has politicized the Justice Department under President Trump.

Catch up quick: Berman's ouster drew national attention after he disputed a Friday night statement from Attorney General Bill Barr that claimed he would be stepping down and that Trump would nominate SEC chairman Jay Clayton to replace him.

  • Berman arrived at work the next day, prompting the attorney general to release a letter informing him that President Trump had fired him at Barr's request.
  • Trump told reporters that day that he was not involved in the decision to fire Berman, saying: "Well that's all up to the attorney general. Attorney General Barr is working on that. That's his department, not my department. But we have a very capable attorney general, so that's really up to him. I'm not involved."
  • Berman eventually agreed to resign after Barr said that he would be replaced in an acting capacity by a top deputy at the SDNY, rather than a political appointee.

What's next: The hearing on July 9 will be a closed-door, transcribed interview, Politico reports. Barr himself plans to testify before the committee for a general oversight hearing on July 28.

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