The Senate Judiciary Committee will be investigating if, under former President Donald Trump, the Department of Justice attempted to use the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office to prosecute critics of the former President and protect his allies.
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) stated: “These reported claims indicate astonishing and unacceptable deviations from the Department’s mission to pursue impartial justice, which requires that its prosecutorial decisions be free from political influence.”
In the letter, Durbin cites a New York Times report that details allegations in a book by Geoffrey Berman, former U.S. Attorney for New York’s Southern District.
Berman served under Trump for two years and volunteered on the former President’s 2016 campaign and later on his transition team.
Berman asserts in his book that Trump’s appointees pressured the office to go after Trump’s critics while shielding Trump and his allies from prosecution — efforts that he claimed he worked to resist.
Berman also claims former U.S. Attorney General William Barr fired him, stating that his work threatened Trump’s reelection campaign.
Berman accused the Department of Justice under the former President of driving him to indict Gregory Craig, ex-White House counsel for former President Barack Obama, despite the Manhattan office never finding a reason for the charge.
On the book tour for his new book, Berman also claims he was set on former Secretary of State John Kerry to investigate him for criminality.
Durbin referenced many of these claims, adding the actions “contends that Department officials pressured his office to remove references to President Trump from the charging document for Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer, as well as later attempts by Attorney General Barr himself to reverse Mr. Cohen’s conviction and stop related investigations entirely.”