[The following letter appeared in the Savannah Morning News of July 9, 2020. The author is a member of the executive committee of Skidaway Island Democrats.]
Once again, Attorney General Bill Barr has lied to the American people when he announced the resignation of the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman. Berman, immediately after learning of his supposed resignation, denied that assertion and refused to leave his post until a replacement has been confirmed by the Senate.
Replacing the existing head of a department, who has been duly confirmed by the Senate, with someone who has not gone through this confirmation process, is to allow the president to install his cronies to oversee these departments without due process. The term “acting” allows this administration to replace the exiting department head with impunity.
This process has led to dismissal of five inspectors general who have displeased this president and numerous capricious firings of those perceived as enemies. This position has been given to Jay Clayton, the current head of the SEC, a man with no prosecutorial experience. This is unprecedented.
The Southern District of New York has been seen as the most independent U.S Attorney’s office in the country. They have prosecuted many high-profile cases, including Michael Cohen and led investigations into other well-known cronies of the president, such as Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Attorney General Barr has consistently used his position to undermine the internal workings of various judicial jurisdictions and has forced many resignations of prosecutors in protest.
Berman, a Republican, was appointed by this administration and reaffirmed by judges of the Southern District. This is but one more attempt, of many, at destroying reputations and diluting the ability of experienced people doing their jobs.
–Cubby Plonchak, Savannah