President Donald Trump personally interviewed at least two possible candidates to fill U.S. attorney positions with New York jurisdictions, Politico reported late Thursday.
Politico reported, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter, that Trump personally interviewed Geoffrey Berman from law firm Greenburg Traurig as a candidate for U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, as well as Ed McNally from law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres for a position in the Eastern District.
The White House did not deny that Trump personally interviewed Berman and McNally, according to Politico, but a White House official said Trump “and other presidents before him and after may talk to individuals nominated to positions within the executive branch.”
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York has jurisdiction over an area that includes Trump Tower.
Preet Bharara, who was fired from the Southern District position in March, tweeted Tuesday that it would be “neither normal nor advisable for Trump to personally interview candidates for US Attorney positions, especially the one in Manhattan.”
It is neither normal nor advisable for Trump to personally interview candidates for US Attorney positions, especially the one in Manhattan. https://t.co/RFURo523Nb
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) October 18, 2017
Bharara made the remark in the context of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said he spoke to colleagues about “potentially blocking any nominees who have been interviewed by the President.”
“I’m not sure I remember whether he had interviewed for New York but if you say so I assume so, and he has the right to for sure because he has to make an appointment and I assume everybody would understand that,” Sessions replied.
“I understand that he’s personally interviewed the potential applicants for US attorney in Manhattan and Brooklyn and one in Washington, D.C., which happen to be places where Donald Trump has property and assets and companies, and not interviewed personally US attorneys for other positions,” Bharara told CNN on Wednesday. “I think that reasonably raises a number of questions.”
U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie Liu in July told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she “met the President with the White House counsel” while she was interviewing for the position but said she did not keep “detailed records” of the selection process.