Preet Bharara, a former federal prosecutor best known for going after corrupt politicians, terrorists, and white collar criminals, has been fired by the Trump administration.
— CNN (@CNN) March 11, 2017
“I did not resign,” Bharara said on Twitter. “Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.”
I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) March 11, 2017
Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general, has been doing a purge of Obama-era prosecutors, the Washington Post reports. According to the Post, the deputy attorney general began contacting over 40 prosecutors asking for their resignations on Friday.
This is customary during a transition of power and 94 of the Obama administration’s U.S. attorneys have already resigned.
But Preet Bharara refused. This was due to the fact that he met with Donald Trump at Trump Tower after the election and was asked to stay on by the current POTUS, the Washington Post reports.
According to the Post, the meeting came about after Trump made a call to Chuck Schumer to congratulate him on becoming the leader of the Senate Democrats. Preet Bharara’s name was allegedly mentioned during the call and Trump said that he was considering having the former U.S. attorney stay in his job. After Schumer spoke highly of Bharara, Trump met with him.
Apparently, during the conversation, Trump told Bharara to call Jeff Sessions who also allegedly asked him to stay on in his post.
Here’s what Preet Bharara said to the press after the meeting with Trump as reported by the Huffington Post.
“The president-elect asked, presumably because he’s a New Yorker and is aware of the great work that our office has done over the past seven years, asked to meet with me to discuss whether or not I’d be prepared to stay on as the United States attorney to do the work as we have done it, independently, without fear or favor for the last seven years. We had a good meeting. I said I would absolutely consider staying on. I agreed to stay on. I have already spoken to Senator Sessions, who is as you know is the nominee to be the attorney general. He also asked that I stay on, and so I expect that I will be continuing to work at the southern district.”
An insider told the Washington Post that when the deputy attorney general called Bharara, he asked her to clarify whether he was exempt from these resignations because of his conversation with Trump.
He did not get a clear answer.
Another source added that it was Attorney General Jeff Sessions and chief strategist Steve Bannon who wanted a whole new crop of federal prosecutors.
Bharara: "Hallmark of justice is absolute independence."
I see why he was fired (1/2) pic.twitter.com/A4vIpUCX8R
— Andy Grewal (@AndyGrewal) March 11, 2017
“One hallmark of justice is absolute independence, and that was my touchstone everyday I served,” Bharara said in his official statement about the incident.
On social media, people have been calling on Mr. Bharara to run for office. But there’s no word yet on what his next move will be.
At this point, I'd be cool with Sally Yates and Preet Bharara as POTUS/VPOTUS. True American patriots, unlike @realDonaldTrump & his cronies
— Sergio Grant (@sgrant525) March 11, 2017
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[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]