“When did you first discuss the Southern District job with the president, or the Trump administration, and who did you discuss it with?” Maloney requested. “Attorney General Barr?”
“Look, I’m here as the chairman of the SEC to discuss the work of the SEC,” he replied. “What I can say is that, as I said in my opening statement, I need to go back to New York.”
“I was just asking for a timeline,” Maloney replied. “When did you discuss it? Just give me the approximate date, the timeline.”
“What I want to say is, this is something I’ve been talking about for a while, consulting with people as to whether this would make sense for me to continue in public service,” Clayton continued. “This was first raised to the president and the attorney general last weekend. It was something that I had wanted to do, and they first became aware of it last weekend.”
“Thank you, and did you know that Mr. Berman did not want to leave his job in the Southern District when you agreed to accept the nomination?” she requested. “In other words, did you know he was going to be fired to make room for you, instead, for the job?”
“I’m not going to get into that here,” he replied.
Clayton’s assertion appeared to point that inside hours of his expressing curiosity within the job, Barr moved to fireside the one that held it on the time––a remarkably fast decision-making course of. A spokesperson for the SEC didn’t instantly reply to a request for extra clarification of Clayton’s assertion. Later within the listening to, after Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) requested him to make clear, he mentioned he really had “the initial conversation” with Barr and Trump over the weekend of June 12.
“This was entirely my idea,” he mentioned. “This was something that I’d been thinking about for several months as a possible continuation of public service after my time at the SEC is done.”
Clayton golfed with Trump on Saturday, June 13, according to The New York Times, elevating the query of whether or not he mentioned the Southern District posting instantly with the president on that event.
In his alternate with Maloney, Clayton additionally addressed a query about whether or not or not he would recuse himself from issues involving Trump and his allies.
“If you are eventually confirmed by the Senate for this job, would you commit to recusing yourself from all of that office’s current investigation into President Trump and his associates?” she requested.
“Here’s what I’m gonna say,” he replied. “That’s a process that’s way down the road. Whatever my current position or any position I take, I commit to doing it independently, without fear or favor, in the pursuit of justice.”
“I’m sorry, that’s not what I was asking,” Maloney shot again, occurring to element why she was urgent him on it.
“I’m asking you a very simple question,” she mentioned. “Will you commit, right here, to recusing yourself from these investigations?”
“That position and that process is something that is separate and doesn’t need my attention. What I will commit to do, what I commit to do in my current job, is to approach the job with independence and to follow all ethical rules.”
Maloney mentioned he nonetheless wasn’t answering the query, and mentioned the American individuals have to know whether or not or not he might be impartial.
“Understood, and I commit to independence,” he replied.
The circumstances of Berman’s ouster generated furor amongst congressional Democrats and critics of Trump’s DOJ. And it nonetheless isn’t clear why Barr fired him so rapidly, as he might have stayed within the place till the Senate confirmed Clayton as his alternative.
Some even known as for Barr’s impeachment within the wake of the transfer. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi batted down that discuss in an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday.
“At this point, let’s solve our problems by going to the polls and voting on election day,” she mentioned.