September 12, 2022

Senate Judiciary Committee to Investigate New Reports of Political Interference During Trump Presidency

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today sent a letter to Attorney General Garland seeking information on reports of political interference during the Trump presidency by then-Attorney General Barr and other Trump loyalists. In his letter, Durbin points to recent claims made by Geoffrey Berman, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), including that high-ranking Trump administration appointees pressured the SDNY U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute critics of the former president and protect the former president and his allies. 

“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,” Durbin wrote.  “They also compound the already serious concerns raised by then-Attorney General Barr’s 2020 efforts to replace Mr. Berman with a Trump loyalist.” 

Mr. Berman—who volunteered for the 2016 Trump campaign and transition and served as U.S. Attorney for more than two years under then-President Trump—is expected to outline these allegations in a book set to be released tomorrow, September 13. Among these are claims which suggest that former President Obama’s White House Counsel Gregory B. Craig was prosecuted for political reasons after the SDNY U.S. Attorney’s Office determined that there was no basis to charge him. 

Durbin continued, “If accurate, Mr. Berman’s claims indicate multiple instances of political interference in the Department’s investigative and prosecutorial decisions. The Senate Judiciary Committee will investigate these episodes.”

Full text of today’s letter is available here