Ousted NY prose­cu­tor tells panel Barr ‘urged’ him to re­sign

The Maui News - - Nation And World -

WASH­ING­TON — The ousted U.S. at­tor­ney who was lead­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s al­lies told the House Ju­di­ciary panel on Thurs­day that At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr “re­peat­edly urged” him to re­sign dur­ing a hastily ar­ranged meet­ing that sheds light on the ex­tra­or­di­nary stand­off sur­round­ing his de­par­ture.

Ge­of­frey Ber­man, the for­mer fed­eral prose­cu­tor for the South­ern District of New York, pro­vided the com­mit­tee with a de­tailed ac­count be­hind closed doors of three days in June as he was pushed out, ac­cord­ing to his open­ing state­ment, which was ob­tained by The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Ber­man said Barr, over a 45-minute ses­sion at the Pierre Ho­tel in New York, “pressed” him to step aside and take on a new job head­ing up the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s Civil Di­vi­sion so the ad­min­is­tra­tion could in­stall Jay Clay­ton, chair of the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion, to the top prose­cu­tor post in Man­hat­tan.

“I told the at­tor­ney gen­eral that I was not in­ter­ested,” Ber­man told the panel.

Ber­man ex­plained, “There were im­por­tant in­ves­ti­ga­tions in the of­fice that I wanted to see through to com­ple­tion.” He told Barr that, while he liked Clay­ton, he viewed the SEC com­mis­sioner as “an un­qual­i­fied choice” for the job.

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