In a stunning plot twist, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman issued a statement Friday night asserting that he would not, in fact, resign – in direct contradiction to an announcement that he was stepping down hours earlier from Attorney General William Barr.
“I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as the United States Attorney,” Berman, said in a statement. posted to the Southern District of New York Twitter account.
“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,” Berman’s statement continued.
“I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate,” he continued.
Berman’s refusal to resign the position he’s held for two and a half years now sets up a power struggle with the Justice Department over arguably the most prestigious U.S. attorney’s office in the country – the Manhattan-based Southern District of New York – just five months ago. the presidential election.
At midnight, the New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted that he would invite Berman to testify before the committee on Wednesday, during a planned hearing on Barr.
“America is right to expect the worst of Bill Barr, who has repeatedly interfered in Trump’s criminal investigations,” Nadler tweeted.
“We had a hearing on this topic on Wednesday. We welcome Mr. Berman’s testimony and will invite him to testify. “
Berman in his promised statement that his investigations – some of which directly touch on Trump or his closest aides – “will move forward without delay or interruption” until his replacement is confirmed.
“I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this Office to pursue justice without fear or favor – and intend to ensure that this Offices’ important cases continue unimpeded.”
He signed the statement using his title – United States Attorney, Southern District of New York.
Berman’s ongoing investigations reportedly include probes into Trump’s inaugural celebrations and into billions in Deutsche Bank loans made to Trump’s company and to his son-in-law’s business, Jared Kushner.
Berman’s office is also reportedly probing whether Trump’s attorney and confidante Rudy Giuliani violated lobbying laws by acting as the president’s intermediary in Ukraine.
His office is also investigating the Turkish Halkbank for allegedly violating the U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.
In his upcoming memoir, former National Security Advisor John Bolton claims that Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he would block the probe in return for Erdogan releasing an American pastor imprisoned in Turkey.