A top federal prosecutor is refuting Barr's announcement that he's stepping down

Geoffrey Berman.
(Image credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

Attorney General William Barr announced Friday night that Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, is "stepping down" with President Trump nominating Jay Clayton, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to take his place. But shortly after, Berman said he has "no intention of resigning" and will only do so "when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate," adding that his office's investigations will continue until then. Barr had indicated Craig Carpenito, the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, would serve in an interim role effective July 3.

Berman and Barr reportedly haven't seen eye to eye since the latter was sworn in in 2019. Barr reportedly expressed skepticism over Berman's investigations into hush-money payments made to two women who alleged affairs with Trump, leading to Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen's guilty plea, as well as alleged campaign-finance violations involving Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Trump's current personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

In 1979, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Council concluded that the president can remove court-appointed U.S. attorneys like Berman, but the attorney general can't, so it's unclear whether Trump will enter the fray to resolve the matter one way or the other. Read more at NPR and The Wall Street Journal.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.