A former federal prosecutor fired by former President Trump on Monday condemned what he described as “unprecedented” political interference in his work during the Trump administration.
Former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who served as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the Trump-era Justice Department pressured him to indict former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig before the midterm elections and prosecute former Secretary of State John Kerry.
“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 host George Stephanopoulos.
“People who have been in the office for 40 years never saw anything like that. It was unprecedented and scary,” Berman added.
The interview came one day before Berman is set to release his book, titled “Holding the Line.”
Trump fired Berman in June 2020 after he refused to resign, leading to what Berman described on Monday as a “noisy” departure that included him issuing a press release. Then-Attorney General William Barr accused Berman of choosing “public spectacle over public service” at the time.
Berman’s firing came after he began investigating Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer and so-called fixer. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance fraud and other charges.
On ABC, Berman said the Justice Department attempted to get him to remove mentions of “Individual-1” in the charging documents, which were references to Trump.
“They were unsuccessful in that venture, and they were unsuccessful in every attempt to politically interfere with our office,” Berman said. “We held the line in every instance.”
He also said Trump’s Justice Department pressured him to prosecute John Kerry for his Iran-related conduct.
The pressure came one day after Trump issued two tweets attacking Kerry over the Iran nuclear deal, which he helped negotiate as Obama’s secretary of State, Berman said. Trump claimed Kerry violated the Logan Act, which bans private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments without permission from the administration.
Around the same time, Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement.
“The statute they wanted us to use was enacted in 1799 and had never been successfully prosecuted,” Berman said on ABC. “So in about 220 years this criminal statute was on the books, there were no convictions.”