President Trump on Saturday fired the federal prosecutor whose office put his former personal lawyer in prison and is investigating his current one, heightening criticism that the president was carrying out an extraordinary purge to rid his administration of officials whose independence could be a threat to his re-election campaign.
Mr. Trump’s dismissal of the prosecutor, Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan, whose office has pursued one case after another that have rankled Mr. Trump, led to political blowback and an unexpected result: By the end of the day, Mr. Berman’s handpicked deputy, not the administration’s favored replacement, was chosen to succeed him for now.
In a striking move late Friday night, Mr. Berman, who has been in office since 2018, had declined to leave his post after Attorney General William P. Barr announced that he would be replaced by Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Mr. Clayton is friendly with Mr. Trump and had golfed with the president at his club in Bedminster, N.J., as recently as last weekend.
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