What to know
- The repressed U.S. attorney who is investigating President Donald Trump's allies will appear in a private interview before the House Justice Committee
- Former Attorney General for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, had an extraordinary standoff last month when Attorney General William Barr tried to fire him
- Berman refused to leave and only gave in after he was assured that his office's investigation into Trump's circle would continue
The repressed U.S. lawyer who led investigations into President Donald Trump's allies is expected to appear in front of the House Justice Committee for a private interview as the panel deepens its investigation into the Department of Justice's politicization.
Geoffrey Berman, the former federal attorney for the southern district of New York, had an extraordinary stalemate last month when Attorney General William Barr tried to fire him. Berman refused to resign and only gave in after he was assured that his office's investigation into Trump's circle would continue.
When Thursday's interview was scheduled, Justice Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. Described Berman's dismissal as "part of a clear and dangerous behavior pattern" by Barr. The panel's democratic majority continues to investigate the attorney general, who they believe works more like Trump's personal lawyer than the country's top law enforcement officer. Barr will testify before the committee later this month.
In the southern district, known for his high-profile law enforcement efforts, Berman oversaw several ongoing investigations into Trump employees, including some that played a prominent role in the President's impeachment investigation.
Berman's office deals with the business relationships of Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer and former New York Mayor. It also persecuted Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who was jailed for lying to Congress crimes and funding campaigns.
SDNY investigated Trump's first fundraiser and monitored the prosecution of two Florida businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were Giuliani employees and were linked to the impeachment investigation in Ukraine. The men were charged in October with violations of federal campaign funding.
The Justice Committee interview takes place behind closed doors. It will probably take hours. A transcript is expected to be published later.
Berman, a Republican lawyer and donor to Trump, was won by the government in 2018 as a U.S. lawyer for SDNY. He had worked for the independent lawyer from 1987 to 1990, who investigated the administration of President Ronald Reagan in the Iran-Contra affair.
Previously, he worked as a US attorney's assistant in the SDNY office from 1990 to 1994 before entering the private practice, including his time at the same firm as Giuliani. He reportedly met with Trump before serving as the chief prosecutor in Manhattan.
Efforts to oust Berman sparked an unusual conflict between the Department of Justice and his famous prosecutor in New York.
Barr announced in a statement late Friday that Berman would resign. Shortly after 11 p.m. Berman made his own statement saying that he had "no intention of resigning".
Berman came to work on Saturday morning. Barr, who criticized the "public spectacle," announced Berman's dismissal.
Trump told reporters that it was "all for the Attorney General". At the time, Trump added, "I wasn't involved."
It is not the first fall of an American lawyer from the SDNY. Preet Bahara, a former attorney general appointed by President Barack Obama, announced that he was released in March 2017, shortly after taking office.