With the recent revelation that Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, recused himself from the Michael Cohen investigation and subsequent raid on his house, office, and hotel room, we can be confident this investigation is all about taking down Donald Trump. As Palmer Report has previously discussed, Trump fired Preet Bharara and then personally interviewed Berman for the job, likely demanding loyalty for the appointment. In replacing Bharara with Berman, who has known ties to Trump’s friend Rudy Giuliani, Trump believed that he would not be a future subject of any investigation due to his expectation of loyalty from Berman.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel following the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the Trump-Russia investigation, approved Berman’s recusal. While it was stunning when we all initially believed Berman signed off on the Cohen raid, the fact he has recused himself is an even bigger deal. Because he was appointed by Trump, Berman would have to believe this investigation into Trump’s longtime personal lawyer will eventually lead directly to Trump himself.
While it is extremely rare, and many experts consider it a possible conflict of interest, for the president to personally interview candidates for U.S. Attorney, we know that Trump did in fact interview several candidates for open positions due to testimony to Congress made by Sessions. After being one of only a few U.S. attorneys that Trump originally said would keep their positions after his inauguration, Trump changed his mind and fired Bharara, who has since been a prominent critic of Trump on television as well as social media.
Bharara’s firing was seen at the time as a desperate move by Donald Trump to insert someone he trusted as U.S. Attorney for SDNY, as this individual would oversee any future investigations into much of Trump’s previous business and Trump Towers. While we don’t know if Berman ever pledged loyalty to Trump, we do now know that he certainly pledged his loyalty to the rule of law, and that is sure to upset an already unhinged Trump.
I’m a ceramic engineer living in Central New York, avid sports fan but find myself more interested in politics lately.