U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says he was fired by Trump administration, the day after the Justice Department asked him and 45 other federal prosecutors to resign.
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
Bharara was informed he was fired by Dana Boente, the acting deputy attorney general, shortly after it became widely known that he did not intend to step down in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' request that leftover appointees of former President Barack Obama quit.
Shortly after the election, Trump pledged to work with Senator Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate and talked about the good relationship the pair had. He even asked a former Schumer lawyer, Preet Bharara, to remain in his post as US attorney for the Southern District of New York, one of the most influential—and independent—prosecutor offices and a key enforcer of Wall Street. Bharara was well regarded by Republicans and Democrats alike.
In November, Bharara said after meeting with Sessions and Trump that he’d been asked to stay on in the new administration and had agreed to do so. Saturday’s drama raises questions about whether or why the relationship changed and will draw attention to the high-profile cases that Bharara’s office is handling.
A representative for Bharara declined to comment on his refusal to resign and his firing. The White House referred calls to the Justice Department, which declined to comment beyond confirming that Bharara is no longer a US attorney.
Based on reporting by NBC Connecticut, Reuters, and New York Times