Beginning on Friday evening, a melodrama that would have been unknown of at virtually any time in the history of our nation played out on social media.
It started benignly enough with Attorney General Bill Barr announcing that US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman would ‘step aside’ effective July 3. Berman, who is only in office because a replacement for Chuck Schumer’s close ally Preet Bharara has yet to be named, responded by essentially saying ‘the hell, you say,’ and announcing that he refused to leave. Barr fired him. This, naturally, got the left wound up and created all manner of masturbatory material for the #Resistance and for Never Trumpers.
Yes, Trump is saying he's not involved, and that's the only way Berman can be removed. Barr is a wannabe President, but he's not the President. As I read the law, Berman is still the US Attorney for SDNY. https://t.co/FAJpSZNGmc
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) June 20, 2020
The potential for attention and headlines stirred Fat Jerry Nadler from his nap to remove his gravy suppository and threaten hearings.
“Last night, Attorney General Bill Barr told us that Geoffrey Berman of the SDNY had resigned—which was untrue. Today, Barr told us that the President asked him to fire Mr. Berman—which may also be untrue, given that the President says he had nothing to do with the decision. The whole thing smacks of corruption and incompetence, which is what we have come to expect from this President and his Attorney General.
“Neither the President nor the Department of Justice have offered any explanation for Mr. Berman’s purported dismissal. We know that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is engaged in investigations aimed at President Trump’s inner circle. We know, from revelations earlier this week, that the President wanted to have ‘his own people’ in that office to help him with his personal and political needs. And we know that, time and time again, Bill Barr has reached into ongoing criminal investigations in order to protect the President from their consequences. The American people are right to be outraged. Barr may sit in the office of the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, but he clearly cares very little about the law.
“The House Judiciary Committee will immediately open an investigation into this incident, as part of our broader investigation into Barr’s unacceptable politicization of the Department of Justice. On Wednesday, the Committee will hear from two whistleblowers who will explain why Barr’s attempt to fire Mr. Berman is part of a larger, ongoing, and wholly unacceptable pattern of conduct. If the President removes Mr. Berman, then we will take additional steps to secure his testimony as well.”
This is just kabuki for the intellectually impaired. The US Attorney for Southern District of New York is just a presidential appointee like any other. They serve at the pleasure of the president and can be removed for any or no reason. At best, Nadler thinks he’s recreating the 2007 House and Senate investigation of a decision to fire seven US Attorneys. That hearing only happened because the Democrats controlled both the House and Senate and a meek and servile Alberto Gonzales went along with the Democrat attack on his own employees. As shipwreckedcrew pointed out, if you think anything the SDNY was investigating that even tangentially touched President Trump hasn’t been subjected to minute examination and found to be so flimsy that even Robert Mueller wouldn’t take it on, you’re suffering from terminal TDS.
Beyond this, even assuming that Nadler had the political clout to do anything more than have Barr laugh in his face, the idea that Nadler can compel testimony from the President on why he fired a presidential appointee is so bizarre that one is shocked that even someone as mentally decrepit as Nadler could come up with this.
The real crux to ending this drama is Lindsey Graham manning up, exerting his authority to treat the ‘blue slip’ (not to be confused with a blue dress) as advice, not as a veto (Read Senate “Blue Slip” Policy: How Does Lindsay Graham’s Head Stay Up With No Spine? for background on this process). Otherwise, we’re going to see this drama over and over again and this position never filled.