Originally posted on July 11, 2020
Not quite a month ago, AG Barr made quite a mess of it when he fired the SDNY (Southern District of NY) attorney, Geoffrey Berman. Now Barr is replacing the EDNY (Eastern District of NY) attorney, Richard Donoghue. Among his investigations were the Ukraine, Rudy Giuliani and Hunter Biden. At least this transfer didn’t raise quite the stink as the SDNY one did. Donoghue, as far as I can tell, wasn’t particularly pro or con the president.
But there’s little doubt that the new EDNY attorney, Seth DuCharme, is a Barr loyalist. He has been in and out of the EDNY over the years, and is reported to be well-liked. But he left the EDNY in March 2019 to become a principle associate deputy of Barr’s, so there’s little doubt where his loyalties lie.
Also interesting is how the transfer was carried out. Normally district attorneys are confirmed by the Senate. Given the increasing politicization of the Justice Department by Barr it is unlikely that any new attorneys will be confirmed. Also normally, when an attorney leaves his position the deputy takes over. So normally, Donoghue’s deputy would have taken over. Recall in the SDNY, Berman’s deputy, Strauss, ended up leading the SDNY after Barr made a mess of it. In the EDNY the deputy was Mark Lesko – who, horror of horrors, was a democrat! – even though he was recruited by Donoghue. Barr wasn’t going to make that mistake again. So he made sure Donoghue was going to go peacefully (he swapped positions with DuCharme) so he could name his man, DuCharme, to the position.
The timing of the swap was also interesting. It was again, just like Berman’s firing, done on a Friday night. No explanation has been provided why the swap was done, and I’m guessing we’ll never hear.