Skip to comments.GOP rallies around Trump after firing of Manhattan US attorney
Posted on 06/22/2020 11:54:23 PM PDT by robowombat
GOP rallies around Trump after firing of Manhattan US attorney BY ALEXANDER BOLTON - 06/22/20 08:05 PM EDT
GOP rallies around Trump after firing of Manhattan US attorney
Senate Republicans on Monday largely defended President Trump following his controversial decision this week to fire Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said Trump was within his right to fire Berman, who was involved in a number of politically sensitive investigations that touched on Trump and his advisers.
Its kind of like previous firings, I would say, Thune said. These people all serve at the pleasure of the president. My assumption is that whatever investigation is underway will be continued by the career staff there. The show will go on.
Attorney General William Barr announced Berman would step down on Friday night. Berman then resisted that move and said he would not leave office to make way for Barrs preferred replacement, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, who does not have any experience as a federal prosecutor.
Trump then formally fired Berman, but not before Berman was able to pick Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss as his acting successor. Barrs agreement to this was a factor in Berman stepping away instead of fighting the move in court.
It is believed that Strauss will carry on the investigations that may have unsettled the White House. These include an investigation into the presidents personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and a probe into Halkbank, a state-run Turkish bank that former national security adviser John Bolton alleges that Trump may be trying to shield from prosecution.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) dismissed the criticism of Trumps intervention into the Southern District as the latest tempest in a teapot.
Everything the president does generates controversy. Everything the attorney general does generates controversy. That doesnt mean its warranted, he said. Clearly the attorney general and the president are within their rights.
Asked about a possible conflict of interest in Bermans dismissal, Cornyn said theres no evidence of that.
Im not aware of the fact that hes investigating Giuliani but if he is, the Department of Justice is capable of continuing that without Mr. Berman.
Cornyn said he has no idea why Berman was fired but doesnt think Trump owes the public an explanation.
There have been some signs of GOP unease at Barrs and Trumps maneuvering.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Saturday he would not move Claytons nomination through his committee until he receives blue-slip signoffs from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Schumer announced Monday afternoon he would not give the nominee a green light.
It had long been tradition in the Senate that a judicial nomination would only go forward if the two senators from the nominees home state submitted blue-slip documents signing off, although the practice has waned in recent years amid growing partisan tensions.
It applies to U.S. attorneys and district court judges, Graham said Monday. Thats been the tradition of the committee for as long as I can remember. Well keep that in place.
He acknowledged Bermans firing was inartful, but didnt see anything necessarily improper.
I just want to know is there anything [the president] did that would impede investigations, and I dont think so, Graham said.
One senator facing a tough reelection race this fall was more critical.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Trump should not have fired the prosecutor in the midst of an investigation into his personal lawyer.
While the president has the authority to fire U.S. attorneys, he should not have relieved Mr. Berman of his duties at this time, she said in a statement.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a frequent critic of Trump who voted to impeach the president, said from the outside it looks pretty swampy.
Im sure well get more information as he speaks out, he said. I certainly hope that any investigations that were being pursued, particularly those that would relate to the president or donors or friends would be continue to be pursued.
The White House also sought to distance Trump from Barrs decision.
The attorney general was taking the lead on this matter, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during her press briefing on Monday. He did come to the president and report to him when Mr. Berman decided not to leave, and at that point is when the president agreed with the attorney general.
He was involved in a sign-off capacity, McEnany said of Trump.
She also denied that Berman had been fired because of any of his investigations.
Another possible factor emerged Monday when The Wall Street Journal reported that Berman on Thursday had refused to sign a letter criticizing New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) for OKing protests but not religious gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. Two people familiar with the matter told the Journal that the incident compounded Barrs existing frustration with Berman.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) on Monday said its Trumps prerogative to hire and fire U.S. attorneys and noted these types of dispute arent new.
Former President George W. Bushs Justice Department sparked a storm of controversy in 2006 when it announced the sudden dismissal of seven U.S. attorneys.
Its always been the rule that the president gets to name U.S. attorneys, Wicker added. Generally speaking, this is the presidents call.
Senate Republicans response to Bermans ouster was significantly muted compared to their reaction to the presidents firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick last month.
Nadler to subpoena AG Barr over Berman firing Schumer says he won't return blue slip if Trump nominates Clayton as... Several Republicans, including Thune and Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) at the time demanded a detailed explanation from Trump for the termination, which the president was required to provide to Congress under the 2008 Inspector General Reform Act.
Grassley, who was serving as chairman of the Judiciary Committee when Trump nominated Berman to the Southern District, on Monday said Schumer and Gillibrand had never returned blue slips on Bermans nomination when the Trump administration advanced it in 2018.
What I cant figure out, the Democrats are talking about it and when he was nominated by the president, both Democratic senators said they werent going to return the blue slip. So, theres a lot of hypocrisy, Grassley said.
If I were the president I would respond to questions regarding the reason for the firing would be For the same reason Clinton fired all 93 of them as soon as he took office, I am sure you must have asked him why he did that so just look it up. (Of course all they ever said was it was the presidents prerogative to fire them all without giving a reason. But they wont give President Trump that consideration.)
Has anyone notified Lindsey Graham yet?
The usual obligatory controversial adjective when none is needed nor required.
How can Grassley get that so wrong?
He was appointed as interim U.S. Attorney.
Trump Taps Rudy Giulianis Law Partner to Replace Preet Bharara in New York
President Donald Trump has appointed Geoffrey Berman, former Mayor Rudy Giulianis law partner, as interim U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York after firing Preet Bharara in March.
Time to fire all who were appointed by a democrat.
Time to fire Sen.Susan Collins.
Then, we continue on with “acting”
Nothing wrong with the acting till Senators get their head straight.
Presidents have the greater power in this dynamic
“Time to fire Sen.Susan Collins.”
...and replace her with a Democrat. Good strategy.
This is what pisses me off.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Saturday he would not move Claytons nomination through his committee until he receives blue-slip signoffs from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer
They'd better. I noticed that Mittwit the Dog-Torturer called the firing "swampy", but then, he's not really a Republican.
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