Donald Trump FIRES top US attorney in Manhattan who investigated his allies after he refused to step down in a standoff with AG Bill Barr

A top federal prosecutor who investigated Donald Trump's allies including Rudy Giuliani has been fired after a standoff with Attorney General Bill Barr.  
Geoffrey S. Berman, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, was told in a letter from Barr Saturday that he was fired, after he had refused to step down on Friday night.
Attorney General Barr said on Saturday that Trump ordered the removal of Berman, who had taken on high-profile investigations, including charging Jeffrey Epstein with sex trafficking. 
He also prosecuted Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen and charged two Rudy Giuliani associates during a campaign finance investigation. 
Geoffrey S. Berman, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced he is stepping aside from his role on Saturday. It came after he initially refused to accept his dismissal from U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, who attempted to fire him earlier in the day
Geoffrey S. Berman, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced he is stepping aside from his role on Saturday. It came after he initially refused to accept his dismissal from U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, who attempted to fire him earlier in the day
In a letter to Berman, AG Bill Barr (above) said he had 'chosen public spectacle over public service' and that Trump had removed him as a result
In a letter to Berman, AG Bill Barr (above) said he had 'chosen public spectacle over public service' and that Trump had removed him as a result
On Saturday, Trump went against Barr's announcement and said he wasn't involved in Berman's firing, and shifted the responsibility back to the attorney general. 
But Barr insisted in a letter to Berman on Saturday stating that the president had asked for his removal. 
On Friday night, Berman had forcefully denied that he was resigning, after a late-night Justice Department press release announced his resignation and replacement.
However, Barr's letter told him he was fired because he had 'chosen public spectacle over public service'.
'Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so,' the letter read.  
Berman eventually agreed to step aside in a statement Saturday evening. 
'In light of Attorney General Barr's decision to respect the normal operation of law and have Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss become Acting U.S. Attorney, I will be leaving the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, effective immediately,' the statement said. 
Barr said Berman's top deputy, Audrey Strauss, would become the acting United States Attorney for the district.
'It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as this district’s U.S. Attorney and a custodian of its proud legacy, but I could leave the district in no better hands than Audrey’s,' Berman added in his statement. 
'She is the smartest, most principled, and effective lawyer with whom I have ever had the privilege of working. And I know that under her leadership, this office's unparalleled (assistant prosecutors), investigators, paralegals, and staff will continue to safeguard the Southern District’s enduring tradition of integrity and independence.'
The Attorney General said he was 'surprised and quite disappointed' by Berman's late-night public statement Friday in which he refused to quit his job. 
Geoffrey Berman said in a strongly worded statement that he will not be leaving his position as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York but stepped aside later Saturday
Geoffrey Berman said in a strongly worded statement that he will not be leaving his position as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York but stepped aside later Saturday
Trump says 'I'm not involved' in firing of prosecutor Berman
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Berman's termination marked another remarkable development in an escalating crisis at the Justice Department that started on Friday night, when Barr unexpectedly announced that Berman was stepping down and would be replaced by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton.
Berman, however, issued a statement of his own, saying he had no intention of stepping down until the Senate confirms his successor.
Berman's Friday statement had said: 'I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was 'stepping down' as United States Attorney.
'I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
'I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption,' he added.
Berman was planning to fight the decision even after Barr's letter, but that possibility was becoming less clear as the day wore on and he eventually stood aside. 
The news comes just days after former national security adviser John Bolton claimed in his tell-all book that Trump promised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan he'd interfere in Halkbank case that was being prosecuted in the Southern District.
The Southern District has prosecuted a number of Trump associates, including Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who served a prison sentence for lying to Congress and campaign finance crimes
It has also been investigating Rudy Giuliani and his associates
The Southern District has prosecuted a number of Trump associates, including Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen (left), who served a prison sentence for lying to Congress and campaign finance crimes, and has also been investigating Rudy Giuliani (right) and his associates
The office has prosecuted a number of Trump associates, including Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who served a prison sentence for lying to Congress and campaign finance crimes, and has also been investigating Giuliani and his associates.
Berman's office also charged Jeffrey Epstein with child sex trafficking last year
Berman's office also charged Jeffrey Epstein with child sex trafficking last year 
Berman has also overseen the prosecution of two Florida businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were associates of Giuliani and tied to the Ukraine impeachment investigation. 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 reelection. 
Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Giuliani´s business dealings, including whether he failed to register as a foreign agent, according to people familiar with the probe. The people were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Berman, a Republican who contributed to the president´s election campaign, worked for the same law firm as Giuliani and was put in his job by the Trump administration. But as U.S. attorney, he won over some skeptics after he went after Trump allies.
He had recused himself from directly overseeing the Cohen investigation for reasons that were never disclosed.
Berman was appointed by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in January 2018, months after former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was fired after refusing to resign along with dozens of other federal prosecutors appointed by President Barack Obama.
US Attorney calls out Prince Andrew outside Epstein's NYC mansion
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Three months later, FBI agents raided Cohen's offices, an act the president decried as a politically motivated witch hunt.
Berman has taken a direct hand in other investigations that have angered Trump.
His office subpoenaed Trump's inaugural committee for a wide range of documents as part of an investigation into various potential crimes, including possible illegal contributions from foreigners to inaugural events.
And weeks before the 2018 midterm election, Berman announced insider trading charges against an ardent Trump supporter, Republican Rep. Chris Collins. Collins, who represented western New York, has since resigned.
Under Berman's tenure, his office also brought charges against Michael Avenatti, the combative lawyer who gained fame by representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits involving Trump. 
Avenatti was convicted in February of trying to extort sportswear giant Nike after prosecutors said he threatened to use his media access to hurt Nike´s reputation and stock price unless the company paid him up to $25 million.
The Southern District of New York is one of the nation's premiere districts, trying major mob cases and terror cases over the years. If the mastermind of the September 11 attacks had been tried in a court of law, it would have been there. 
Donald Trump FIRES top US attorney in Manhattan who investigated his allies after he refused to step down in a standoff with AG Bill Barr Donald Trump FIRES top US attorney in Manhattan who investigated his allies after he refused to step down in a standoff with AG Bill Barr Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 01:42 Rating: 5

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