The House Judiciary Committee on Monday released the transcript of its interview with former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who was ousted from his role leading the powerful Manhattan-based prosecutorial office last month.
Attorney General Bill Barr had tried to fire Berman and, rather than let Berman’s deputy lead the office while his permanent replacement was confirmed, Barr had said that the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey would lead the office instead.
Berman refused to leave the post until Barr partially backed down and let Berman’s deputy, Audrey Strauss, maintain control of it.
Berman told the House that Barr’s original plan was “extraordinary and unprecedented.”
Berman would not go into detail about the cases he feared would be “impeded” if Strauss had not been able to take over his role. But he repeatedly said that the scheme, had it been successful, would have caused “delay and disruption” in his office’s ongoing investigations.
“I don’t know what the Attorney General’s motives were, but the irregular and unexplained actions by the Attorney General raised serious concerns for me,” Berman said. “In addition, the imposition of an acting United States attorney from outside of the office, as I explained, would necessarily delay and disrupt the ongoing investigations.”
He said that tasking the New Jersey prosecutor to take over SDNY role while he was still in charge in New Jersey would cause delays because “Carpenito could not devote 100 percent of his attention to the Southern District.”
“Also, if Carpenito had come in as acting U.S. attorney after my firing and the unprecedented bypassing of the deputy, it would’ve been a huge blow to the office’s morale and may have resulted in AUSAs resigning, which also would have impacted our investigations,” he said.
Read the transcript below: