US Attorney Preet Bharara fired after refusing to resign

By Anandita Mehta
Staff Writer

The Trump administration issued requests on March 10 for the immediate resignation of 46 U.S. attorneys held over from the Obama administration, The Washington Post reported.

Among these 46 attorneys was Preet Bharara, attorney of the Southern District of New York, who refused to resign due to an agreement made between him and President Donald Trump in November, according to CNN.

Pending his refusal to resign, Bharara spoke to the acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente on the phone and later tweeted that he was fired, CNBC reported.

Bharara’s tweet on March 11 read: “I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the U.S. Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.”

The manner in which the Trump administration requested the immediate resignation of these 46 U.S. attorneys reflects the rocky transition between the Obama and Trump administrations, The New York Times reported.

It is common practice for an administration to ask for resignations from attorneys appointed by the preceding administration, but the last two presidents have allowed the attorneys to gradually leave their offices, according to The Washington Post.

All of Bharara’s current pending cases are left in limbo. (AP Photo)

Replacements for these attorneys have not been confirmed yet, leaving pending cases in limbo, according to CNN.

Some of Bharara’s pending cases include an investigation of fundraising by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for his campaign, investigations of sexual harassment accusations against Fox News’s previous chief, Roger Ailes, and investigations of former aides of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, The New York Times reported.

According to the same source, Trump Tower is also under the jurisdiction of Bharara’s former office.

Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the move to request resignations from the U.S. attorneys was meant to give the administration a clean slate, The Washington Post reported.

Two White House officials have stated that it is possible Bharara was promised he could remain in his position as a favor from then President-elect Trump to Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is now Senate Democratic Minority Leader, according to The New York Times.

According to the same source, the relationship between Trump and Schumer has declined since November.

Some analysts believe Bharara’s refusal to resign could boost his career and will be lauded for his decision, according to CNBC.

Bharara’s portfolio includes crackdowns on banking fraud and insider trading as well as hedge fund corruption, according to CNN.