The former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who was ousted last month, told lawmakers on Thursday that U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr strongly pressed him to resign.
That's according to a copy of Geoffrey Berman's written congressional testimony.
Berman, who met with the House Judiciary Committee behind closed doors on Thursday, said he was warned by Barr that if he did not leave and was fired it would "not be good for my resume or future job prospects." Barr also repeatedly urged him to take another job, either in the Justice Department running its civil division or possibly as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Berman said.
Berman added that Barr told him he wanted to appoint current SEC chairman Jay Clayton to replace Berman as Manhattan-based U.S. attorney.
But Berman said he told Barr he regarded Clayton as an "unqualified choice" for the prosecutor job because he had never served as a federal prosecutor.
Berman, who initially issued a statement saying he had "no intention of resigning", ultimately, agreed to leave, after Barr backed off his earlier plan to install a New Jersey top federal prosecutor in his place as acting U.S. Attorney.
Barr instead tapped Berman's hand-picked No.
2, Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, who is currently leading the office until a permanent replacement can be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
After Berman's closed-door interview ended on Thursday, Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Berman told lawmakers that he viewed Barr's plan to tap an outsider to run the office as "unprecedented, unnecessary, and unexplained." He also quoted Berman, who departed as his office continued a probe into President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, as saying that installing the New Jersey top federal prosecutor would "delay and disrupt" pending investigations.
Barr is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee at the end of July.
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