Officially it’s being called a “resignation” according to the Associated Press. However, all the right Lawfare “beach friends” are going bananas as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, is being replaced. [DOJ Announcement Here]
According to the DOJ release Berman is being replaced by the nomination of Jay Clayton, currently the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Additionally, “Craig Carpenito, currently the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, will serve as the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, while the Senate is considering Jay Clayton’s nomination.”
(Via AP) […] Geoffrey S. Berman is stepping down as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. The office is one of the nation’s premiere districts, trying major mob cases and terror cases over the years.
It was unclear why Berman was leaving his position after serving more than two years. The announcement was made late Friday and came after Barr visited New York City to meet with local police officials. And Trump is nominating the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission to the job, a lawyer with virutally no experience as a federal prosecutor. (link)
UPDATE: USAO Geoffrey Berman is refusing to leave:
It’s worth keeping in mind that Berman’s office was the lead in several high profile cases assembled by Robert Mueller. Additionally, AG Barr brought in five+ outside U.S. attorney’s to review all of the Mueller cases as an outcome of the FISA court order to conduct a sequestration review of any/all evidence that might have been used as an outcome of the fraudulently obtained Carter Page FISA warrant.
As CTH noted at the time…. “If you consider that several DOJ offices may be involved with the material under review, including the Southern District of New York; The Eastern District of New York; The Eastern District of Virginia; The Washington DC District, and even Main Justice itself; it makes sense that outside DOJ personnel would be needed for this review.”
There’s no evidence the moves are connected to the sequestration review, but with USAO John Durham looking deeply into the background of DOJ and FBI activity surrounding the effort to target candidate Trump, and later President Trump, there could be a possibility that several lanes are merging. Obviously, AG Barr feels very confident to make the moves and subsequent recommendations to President Trump for replacements.
All of the exit moves and incoming replacements are coming to a head at the same time; early July. The current SDNY move is effective July 3rd, which is the same time that FBI chief legal counsel Dana Boente is leaving his position. Both Boente (FBI) and Jeffrey Berman (DOJ-SDNY) appear to be resigning by Bill Barr’s request; essentially being told to leave.
Other activity this week that may hold deeper connection:
♦On Monday House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler announced that two former Special Counsel Robert Mueller attorneys, John W. Elias and Aaron S.J. Zelinsky would be designated as “whistleblowers” to give testimony against AG Bill Barr. (LINK)
♦On Tuesday, the last remaining DOJ advisor to Jeff Sessions, Jody Hunt, announced his intent to leave the justice dept effective “early July”. (LINK) Mr. Hunt was Jeff Session’s chief-of-staff, and one of the key advisors responsible for the decision to recuse from the Mueller probe. (LINK)
♦On Wednesday the DOJ announced that Solicitor General Noel Francisco will be departing: “Solicitor General of the United States Noel Francisco announces his departure from the Department of Justice, effective as of July 3, 2020.” (LINK)
♦And now on Friday Geoffrey Berman is removed and replaced at the SDNY office; and his exit is also timed for July 3rd. (LINK)
In addition to an identical exit time, one thing all of these departures have in common, including FBI legal counsel Dana Boente’s exit, is their connection to former AG Jeff Sessions (appointments) and DAG Rod Rosenstein (oversight); and ultimately each of these individuals is connected to the larger Robert Mueller special counsel activity.
Their previous work in the DOJ and FBI during the soft-coup insurance phase; which specifically involved the use of the special counsel appointment; in conjunction with the ongoing –and expanded– internal investigation by John Durham; which now includes seven or eight outside U.S. attorneys offices; just seems too coincidental.
The media are framing the use of outside attorneys as Bill Barr working on behalf of President Trump to undermine current and former prosecutions. However, understanding the January FISC order requiring the sequestration effort, the use of outsiders is absolutely necessary. This is a big shield that AG Barr is likely keeping in his back pocket until after Nadler launches his impeachment attack.
The same U.S. Attorneys, prosecutors and FBI agents who used evidence gathered from the fraudulent FISA warrants cannot be the same attorneys, agents and prosecutors making decisions about what parts of the warrants were used to gather evidence and how each part of any case was assembled by the use therein. It is a simple matter of a conflict of interest carried by any prosecutor that used corrupt evidence.
The Robert Mueller team of FBI investigators and special counsel prosecutors certainly used the fraudulently obtained FISA warrants as part of their investigative evidence collection. Common sense would tell us this had to be the case or the FBI and Mueller team would not have requested July 2017 renewal of the FISA warrant two months after the special counsel team was assembled.
If the FBI & Special Counsel were not using the FISA warrant(s) to capture information, they would not have needed them renewed. Despite media spin to the contrary, the simple truth of renewals holding investigative value is evident in the renewal itself (ie. common sense).
Under this rather extensive effort to find exactly which investigations -over the course of three years- were touched directly, or indirectly, by the four FISA warrants; and/or which investigative paths may have been influenced downstream or enhanced -by varying degrees of importance- by evidence stemming from the FISA warrants; a reasonable person could see how AG Bill Barr would need to put a team together to retrace the investigative steps and make the sequestration determinations.
Overlay USAO John Durham doing a deeper and more lengthy investigation that touches the edges of the underlying warrant, and, well, that’s quite a lot of review ongoing.
Obviously, for reasons of biased intent, corporate left-wing media would like to ignore why outside prosecutors are needed under this framework. The media ignore in part because honest reporting would require an admission the FISA warrants were fraudulently obtained; and in part because the left-wing media have never informed the public of the DOJ/FBI sequestration effort in the first place. Likely well more than half the country has no idea the DOJ and FBI have been told to go find the material.
There have been numerous articles, thousands of words, and endless hours of pundit protestations about Bill Barr using outside DC lawyers to review all of the previous DOJ attorney activities; yet not a single time have they ever acknowledged the originating order from the FISA court requiring the DOJ/FBI to conduct the review.
(Washington Post Link) […] Shortly after the McCabe announcement on Friday, officials said that Barr had assigned Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney in St. Louis, to review and “assist” prosecutors currently handling the case of Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is still awaiting sentencing after having pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Jensen appointment marks the latest iteration of an unusual trend inside the Justice Department of tasking outside U.S. attorneys with reviewing, managing, or reinvestigating work that would otherwise not be in their portfolio. Much of the effort seems aimed at re-examining the work of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, whose probe of possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign infuriated the president, or at targeting the president’s foes. (read more)
Like I said, the Washington Post (above) and the New York Times (LINK) have both written pearl-clutching articles about Barr using DOJ “outsiders”; yet never once have they noted the FISA Court order that preceded all of these outside USAO’s entering the picture and receiving instructions from Bill Barr. In order for media ideologues to continue advancing their political narrative they have to pretend not to know things…
…But Truth Has No Agenda!
Readout of Attorney General William P. Barr's Visit with Boston and New York City Police Departments t.co/SX7Gyb4SX4
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) June 20, 2020