U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said reports that Trump had personally interviewed Geoffrey Berman for the job of U.S. Attorney in Manhattan were deeply disturbing, because of conflicts of interest inherent in Berman’s “potential jurisdiction on matters that could affect the president personally.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will try to block the confirmation of Geoffrey Berman if he is nominated by President Trump as the United States Attorney in Manhattan, the New York Times reports. Gillibrand said reports that Trump had personally interviewed Berman were deeply disturbing, because of conflicts of interest inherent in Berman’s “potential jurisdiction on matters that could affect the president personally.” A spokesman said Gillibrand’s criticism was directed at President Trump “for conducting such an interview,” and not at Berman.
Berman was appointed last week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions as the interim U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, placing him in charge of the powerful arm of the Justice Department in Manhattan that has jurisdiction, over President Trump’s businesses there. The appointment of Berman, 58, a former prosecutor in the office, came with the expectation that Trump would formally nominate him to the post. It is unclear how successful Gillibrand would be if she sought to derail Berman. Although the Senate Judiciary Committee has long abided by versions of the so-called blue-slip process, in which senators may seek to block a president’s choice for a federal office in their state, the tradition is a longstanding practice and is not a rule or a law. New York’s other senator, Democrat Chuck Schumer, has told the White House that he “is not supportive” of Berman’s potential nomination.