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Barr: Trump Has Ousted Top Federal Prosecutor

But Geoffrey S. Berman showed up for work Saturday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 20, 2020 2:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Attorney General William Barr on Saturday told the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan that President Trump has removed him from the high-profile job, the AP reports. US Attorney Geoffrey Berman—who has been overseeing investigations of Trump's allies—intends to continue to fight his removal and even showed up at his office to work Saturday, defying the attorney general who abruptly acted hours earlier to oust the prosecutor. "I'm just here to do my job," Geoffrey S. Berman told reporters. The administration's push to cast aside Berman has set up an extraordinary political and constitutional clash between the Justice Department and one of the nation’s top districts, which has tried major mob and terrorism cases over the years and is investigating Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

"I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position," Berman said in a statement late Friday. It also is deepening tensions between the department and congressional Democrats who have accused Barr of politicizing the agency and acting more like Trump’s personal lawyer than the country's chief law enforcement officer. Barr offered no explanation for his action. The White House announced that Trump was nominating Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, a well-connected Wall Street lawyer has virtually no experience as a federal prosecutor, for the job. The timing of the decision mystified people familiar with the matter in the Southern District who could point to no clear reason for Berman's removal. (Read more federal prosecutors stories.)

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