House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced late Friday night that he will invite U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoff Berman to testify after Attorney General Bill Barr abruptly attempted to fire Berman.
“America is right to expect the worst of Bill Barr, who has repeatedly interfered in criminal investigations on Trump’s behalf,” Nadler tweeted. “We have a hearing on this topic on Wednesday. We welcome Mr. Berman’s testimony and will invite him to testify.”
The Democratic leader’s invitation comes amid the chaos prompted by Barr’s sudden firing of Berman, who is currently investigating President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and leading the criminal case of Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, for alleged campaign finance violations. Parnas and Fruman were tied to Giuliani’s scheme to dig up dirt on Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, in Ukraine.
Berman also headed the prosecution of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer.
Barr had announced on Friday night that the U.S. attorney was stepping down and would be replaced by SEC chair Jay Clayton.
However, that apparently came as news to Berman, who stated that he only found out about the development through the attorney general’s press release.
In a defiant press release of his own, Berman declared he has “no intention of resigning,” noting that he was appointed by SDNY judges, not Trump directly.
“I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate,” the attorney said. “Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption.”
Berman also implied that he believed Barr had tried to oust him to stymie certain SDNY operations.
“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 Office’s important cases continue unimpeded,” Berman said.
Nadler’s committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday with John Elias and Aaron Zelinsky, two whistleblowers at the Justice Department, to “describe the unprecedented politicization” of the DOJ under Trump and Barr’s leadership.