If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say About Bill Barr, Come Sit Next To Fired SDNY Chief Geoffrey Berman!
You're going to want to watch for members of Congress taking leaks all over the place tonight. No, do not follow them into the bathroom, you gross old pervert! We just mean that Geoffrey Berman, the now-former US attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), whose firing Attorney General Bill Barr absolutely bunglefucked like a common bunglefucker, testified before the House Judiciary Committee this afternoon behind closed doors. Barr obviously wanted to do something to fuck up the SDNY's ongoing investigations, and we still don't know what spooked him that it had to happen that weekend, but he sure seems to have made his (and his boss Trump's) problems worse.
It's clear from Berman's opening statement that he came to DISH about the events surrounding his firing. Indeed, the whole opening statement is devoted to telling the story of that night and the next day.
It all started Thursday, June 18, when Berman got an email from Bill Barr's office, saying to come to his room at the Pierre Hotel in New York the next day. No, not like in a Trumpy gross way! At least we don't think. But Barr did not tell him why.
Let Berman set the scene:
The meeting took roughly 45 minutes and was held in the Attorney General's hotel suite. It began at approximately 12:10 pm on June 19. The Attorney General's Chief of Staff, Will Levy, was present with me and the Attorney General, but he did not speak. There were sandwiches on the table, but nobody ate.
Did Bill Barr have panties on? No, wait, don't tell us.
Barr told Berman he wanted to "make a change" at SDNY. (READ: Probably he meant "kill investigations into Trump and Trump's friends like Rudy Giuliani.") He really wanted SEC chairman Jay Clayton, a guy with literally no experience, to be the new US attorney at SDNY. (Clayton thinks he is pretttttty qualified, probably for all jobs!)
Berman was like NAH, ASSHOLE:
I responded that I loved my job and my colleagues at the Southern District and that I was thankful every day for the privilege of being part of that Office. I asked the Attorney General if he was in any way dissatisfied with my performance as U.S. Attorney. He said that he was not at all dissatisfied. He said the move was solely prompted by Jay Clayton's desire to move back to New York and the Administration's desire to keep him on the team.
That's the story they've been stickin' to! Even though it's pretty obviously bullshit!
So Berman was like "Yeah, that guy is cool and all, but he has zero experience for this kind of job, so fuck off, I'm good."
Barr was not dissuaded. He said there would be a new job leading the Civil Division at Main Justice, oooooooh, doesn't that sound FANCY? But Berman could see through the ruse:
I told the Attorney General that I was not interested in overseeing DOJ's Civil Division or in resigning. I said that I would leave whenever a nominee is confirmed by the Senate, as set forth in the statute under which I was appointed. I asked the Attorney General why I was being asked to resign prior to a nominee being confirmed. He said it was because the Administration wanted to get Jay Clayton into that position.
Barr decided to try something different, by giving Berman some fake-ass friendly fatherly career advice:
The Attorney General pressed me to take the Civil Division position, saying that the role would be a good resume builder. He said that I should want to create a book of business once I returned to the private sector, which that role would help achieve. He also stated that I would just have to sit there for five months and see who won the election before deciding what came next for me.
Think about your resume!
Berman said nah, he wanted to see the SDNY's investigations through, and also mentioned to Barr that this sounded KINDA LIKE THAT HINKY SHIT Barr pulled when they kicked former DC US Attorney Jessie Liu out of her job, promising her a sweet new gig at Treasury, and went outside normal protocols to replace her with a Barr sycophant. (Of course Jessie Liu never got the sweet new gig at Treasury, surprise!)
By referring to that resignation I intended to signal the Attorney General that I was not going to resign so that he could disregard normal procedure and appoint someone from outside the Southern District as acting head instead of our Deputy U.S. Attorney.
He was just saying.
You are probably wondering, since this all took place in Barr's hotel room, if at any point the attorney general excused himself to slip into something a little more comfortable. Berman doesn't say.
Barr did start making explicit threats, though, about what happens when you defy his and Dear Leader's wishes:
The Attorney General said that if I did not resign from my position I would be fired. He added that getting fired from my job would not be good for my resume or future job prospects.
O RLY? In case you are wondering why Berman came out guns blazing the night Barr tried to fire him without telling him, this could be part of it.
Berman says Barr tried to think of other fancy jobs Berman might like to have, but Berman was still like NAH, ASSHOLE. So Barr took his number and said he'd TTYL, after Berman had had a chance to think about it. Berman was like STILL GONNA BE NAH, ASSHOLE.
They talked later that night, and Barr was like "You could lead the SEC!" and Berman was like "NAH, ASSHOLE." Berman asked if they could reconvene on Monday, so he could talk to his people at SDNY. (And talk some more to his lawyer, probably.) They instead agreed they'd talk the next day, Saturday.
That Saturday conversation didn't happen, obviously, because Barr decided to go ahead and announce Berman was resigning that same Friday night, after which Berman issued his own statement saying "NAH ASSHOLE." The next day, Barr issued a statement saying Trump had officially fired Berman, and Berman accepted that, because he had won a very huge and important battle: Barr and Trump did not get their handpicked replacement at SDNY, because Barr had bunglefucked it all so badly.
The Attorney General stated that Audrey Strauss, my hand-picked and trusted Deputy, and not Craig Carpenito, would be Acting U.S. Attorney and was expected to serve in that capacity until a permanent successor is in place.
And there ends the tale.
Imagine what Berman said behind closed doors to Congress today. STAY TUNED FOR LEAKS!
And now, because you are so good, you may have OPEN THREAD.
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