Politics

Nadler Calls for Barrs Impeachment but Admits It Would Be a Waste of Time

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Attorney General William Barr “certainly deserves” to be impeached but would probably escape such a fate because the Republican-controlled Senate would be unlikely to remove him from office.

Nadler made the remarks during an interview on CNNs “State of the Union” on Sunday. He said calls for Barrs impeachment “are a waste of time” and that he will instead seek to punish the attorney general by cutting $50 million from his “own personal budget.”

Barr ignited controversy by moving to fire U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Geoffrey Berman, who initially resisted calls for his resignation, before conceding to his removal after the attorney general invoked the authority of President Donald Trump.

Barr told Berman in a letter on Saturday that he had asked the president to fire Berman following Bermans declaration that he had no intention of resigning, against the Trump administrations wishes. The letter came after Berman contradicted Barrs announcement that the attorney would be stepping down after serving two-and-a-half years in his post.

Following Barrs announcement that the Trump administration intended to nominate Jay Clayton, who is currently the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to serve as the next prosecutor for the SDNY office, Berman released a statement saying that he had learned about his resignation from Barrs press release and had no intention of leaving his position.

Geoffrey Berman
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman at a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington on Oct. 26, 2018. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

Bermans refusal to leave his post changed on Sunday, when he announced, “In light of Attorney General Barrs decision to respect the normal operation of law and have Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss become acting U.S. attorney, I will be leaving the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York, effective immediately.”

He expressed confidence that under the leadership of Strauss, staff at SDNY “will continue to safeguard the Southern Districts enduring tradition of integrity and independence.”

Nadlers comments to CNN come after he said in a statement Saturday that his panel will open an investigation into the Trump administrations move to fire Berman.

“The House Judiciary Committee will immediately open an investigation into this incident, as part of our broader investigation into Barrs unacceptable politicization of the Department of Justice,” said Nadler, who served as an impeachment manager in Trumps Senate trial.

Nadler said that “two whistleblowers” will be called on Wednesday to “explain why Barrs attempt to fire Berman is part of a larger, ongoing, and wholly unacceptable pattern of conduct.” Nadler added that the panel might attempt to “secure” Bermans “testimony as well” in the future.

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