Former federal prosecutor Geoffrey Berman has accused former Attorney General William Barr of firing him from his post because his department’s investigations at the time threatened Trump’s 2020 reelection chances.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” on Monday, Berman, who was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, told host Rachel Maddow that his department was working on several cases, including one involving former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, in the months ahead of the election.
Reading from a book by Berman to be published titled “Holding the Line,” Maddow asked the former federal prosecutor to address the notion that Barr “no doubt believed that by removing me he could eliminate a threat to Trump’s reelection.”
“How was your work as U.S. attorney a threat to Trump’s reelection?” Maddow asked.
“Well, at the time I was fired, the Southern District of New York was working on a couple politically sensitive cases. One of those cases is the Steve Bannon ‘we build the wall’ case and we were very close to indicting that case around the time I got fired, and Barr knew about the case,” Berman told Maddow.
Once Bannon was indicted by Berman’s successor, Trump pardoned Bannon, which Berman called “outrageous.”
He also noted his office had also been investigating Lev Parnes and Igor Fruman, two Trump allies who were eventually convicted of campaign finance charges that involved funneling money from a Russian tycoon into American political campaigns.
Earlier Monday, Berman told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the Trump administration’s Department of Justice pressured him to indict former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig before the midterm elections and prosecute former Secretary of State John Kerry.
Trump fired Berman in 2020 after he refused to resign from his position.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before, and I was a junior prosecutor in the Southern District in the early 90s and I’d never seen anything like that,” Berman told “Good Morning America” co-anchor George Stephanopoulos. “People who have been in the office for 40 years never saw anything like that. It was unprecedented and scary.”