Oh, this looks bad.
Courtesy of Politico:
Attorney General William Barr persistently pressured Manhattan’s former top federal prosecutor to resign during a June 18 meeting at a New York hotel and in a subsequent phone call, the ousted prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman told lawmakers Thursday, detailing for the first time the series of events that led to his removal the next day.
Berman, in a written statement to the House Judiciary Committee, said Barr repeatedly attempted to coax Berman into resigning his post by suggesting he consider other positions in government, including the chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Commission or the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
“I said that there was no job offer that would entice me to resign from my position,” Berman told lawmakers in his opening statement, obtained by POLITICO.
Berman’s testimony raised a suggestion from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, that Barr’s offer of a different position in exchange for stepping down could amount to criminal activity.
“What we don’t know yet is if the attorney general’s conduct is criminal. But that kind of quid pro quo is awfully close to bribery,” Nadler said after exiting the interview with Berman.
Berman also detailed how when he refused to quit it was just announced by the DOJ that he was stepping down and being replaced.
Courtesy of TPM:
“The Attorney General said that if I did not resign from my position I would be fired,” Berman testified. “He added that getting fired from my job would not be good for my resume or future job prospects. I told him that while I did not want to get fired, I would not resign.”
The last time Barr and Berman spoke, Berman testified, was over the phone that same night, just a few hours after Barr first informed Berman that he wanted him gone.
“I told him my position was unchanged and that I wanted to wait until Monday to have our final conversation,” Berman testified, adding that he wanted to consult with his staff.
“He asked why I needed to talk to my Executive Staff,” Berman testified. “He said this is about you. I said it is about the Office.”
Soon after that, Barr asserted in a press release that Berman had stepped down — and that the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, would fill in for Berman until Clayton was confirmed. That caught Berman off-guard.
“Sometime after 9:14 pm on Friday I became aware that DOJ issued a press release that I would be ‘stepping down,’” he testified. “That statement was false.”
Berman put out his own statement denying that he’d stepped down. The next day, Barr said Berman had been fired by the President — though Trump later denied involvement — and that Berman’s top deputy, Audrey Strauss, would fill in as acting U.S. attorney rather than Carpenito.
Berman only agreed to step down voluntarily after they assured him that Strauss, and not Carpenito, would replace him on the job.
It should be noted that Berman’s office prosecuted former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen and is currently investigating Rudy Giuliani.
But I am sure that has nothing to do with this shit show, right?