On Friday evening, Attorney General Bill Barr announced that US Attorney Geoffrey Berman, the powerful federal prosecutor from the Southern District of New York who's investigated multiple Trump associates, was "stepping down," with President Trump intending to nominate SEC Chair Jay Clayton to Berman's role, even though Clayton has no prosecutorial experience. Barr added in his release that until Clayton becomes confirmed, US Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito would fill the role in acting capacity, starting July 3. This was all apparently news to Berman, who about an hour after Barr's press release put out his own statement, per CNN. "I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning," said Berman, who noted in his statement that he found out he was supposedly leaving via Barr's press release.
"I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate," Berman added. "Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption." Berman, who's been the US attorney for Manhattan since 2018, helped seal the conviction of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, has been leading a probe into current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, and was behind the indictments of Giuliani associate Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas. Sources tell CNN and the New York Times that Berman was asked in person by Barr on Friday to resign and refused. The Times notes Berman was never officially nominated by Trump or confirmed by the Senate: Then-AG Jeff Sessions appointed Berman in 2018 on an interim basis, and after 120 days in the role, it was made official by the judges of the US District Court. "This late Friday night dismissal reeks of potential corruption of the legal process," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer posted online. (Read more US attorney stories.)