US President Donald Trump named a replacement for Geoffrey Berman, attorney for the Southern District of New York who oversaw probes into his associates.
Trump intended to nominate Jay Clayton, chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, to succeed Berman, according to the White House.
Berman ran the probe that sent Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to prison and is reportedly investigating his current personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I appreciate his service to the Department of Justice and our nation, and I wish him well in the future,” US Attorney General William Barr said in a statement on Friday night.
In a stunning remark, Berman said he has not resigned and that he has “no intention of resigning.”
“I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight I was ‘stepping down’ as US Attorney,” Berman said.
“I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption.”
Besides Cohen and Giuliani, Berman’s office also subpoenaed Trump’s inaugural committee over an investigation into potential illegal contributions from foreigners and charged former Congressman Chris Collins, a Trump ally, with insider trading.
Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, accused Barr of repeatedly interfering “in criminal investigations on Trump’s behalf”.
“We have a hearing on this topic on Wednesday (June 24). We welcome Mr. Berman’s testimony and will invite him to testify,” Nadler, a Democrat, tweeted.
Clayton is a member of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, and the Financial Stability Board.
He also participates on the Board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions.