Trump Fires Obama-appointed U. S. Attorney Who Refused To Resign
“I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked all remaining Obama-appointed U. S. Attorneys to resign. This is standard procedure when a new president enters the White House, and despite some hand-wringing from the left, is rather unremarkable. What is raising some questions is Preet Bharara, U. S. Attorney for the southern district of New York, who met with President Trump and subsequently announced he would remain in place, has been fired in the wake of his refusal to resign as requested.
In March 1993, Janet Reno began her tenure as President Bill Clinton’s attorney general by summarily firing United States attorneys for 93 of the 94 federal districts (one, Michael Chertoff, was retained in New Jersey, at the request of Democratic Senator Bill Bradley). That is more than twice as many as Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions fired on Friday.
Indeed, there were only 46 Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys left for Sessions to relieve because Obama appointees fully understood that this is the way things work. Many of them had already moved on, in the expectation that the president elected in November would replace them — an expectation that became a virtual certainty once it was clear that this change of administrations would be a change of parties, and visions.
After Trump won the election, he met with Bharara and later said that he would keep Bharara on in that role.
In November, the Wall Street Journal reported:
Preet Bharara, the Manhattan U.S. attorney, has agreed to stay in his current role under the Trump administration, a surprise move that could signal the president-elect is serious about cracking down on Wall Street wrongdoing.
Mr. Bharara, famous for his aggressive prosecutions of insider trading and corruption in New York, met with President-elect Donald Trump in Trump Tower on Wednesday. Afterward, Mr. Bharara told reporters that Mr. Trump asked whether he was prepared to remain as U.S. attorney, and Mr. Bharara said he was.
“We had a good meeting,” Mr. Bharara said. “I agreed to stay on.”
At that time, the move to keep Bharara was interpreted as “‘a powerful message to Wall Street that this is not open season for Wall Street folks to run around and do whatever they want,’ said Greg Morvillo, a partner at Morvillo LLP.”
New York magazine reported in 2011 that Bharara had a reputation of being particularly aggressive towards Wall Street.
Working in the tradition of the last sheriff of Wall Street, Eliot Spitzer, and out of the same Southern District office where Rudy Giuliani went after Milken and Boesky, Bharara has made a name for himself as the crusader of the moment against white-collar crime. In less than two years on the job, the 42-year-old India-born Bharara has charged 46 defendants with insider-trading offenses and procured 30 guilty pleas. The Galleon case is the crown jewel of his work to date. And yet …
To collect those scalps, Bharara has, some say, played rough. He doesn’t grandstand or steamroll the way Giuliani or Spitzer did—in fact, he maintains an assiduously, perhaps even cannily, low profile—but he’s by no means shy about pursuing his marks. To build his cases, he’s used unusually aggressive investigative methods for white-collar crimes, like wiretaps and search warrants.
“It’s not that wiretaps hadn’t been used before, but never in this broad a sweep,” says one prominent white-collar defense lawyer and former Southern District attorney. “A lot of these highfliers never would have imagined that someone would be listening in on their calls. He’s got everyone scared.” Where Giuliani hauled bankers from the trading floors and Spitzer browbeat companies into settlements, Bharara has treated the public to the spectacle of Fortune 500 executives turned like mob stool pigeons, a Goldman director calling Rajaratnam seconds after sitting in on a confidential phone call with Blankfein, and one hedge-fund executive allegedly trying to chew to bits the SIM. card of his prepaid cell phone.
The resignation request included Bharara, who immediately pushed back saying that he would not resign and that President Trump would have to fire him.
U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara, has no plans to resign — will make @realDonaldTrump fire him, @CNN has learned.
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) March 11, 2017
So Trump did just that.
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
On Friday, acting deputy attorney general Dana Boente began making calls to 46 prosecutors asking for their resignations. Such requests are a normal part of a transition of power from one administration to another, and about half of the 94 Obama-era U.S. attorneys had already left their jobs.
But Boente’s call to Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, appears to have left some confusion in its wake, in large part because President Trump met with Bharara soon after the election and had asked him to stay on.
During Friday’s call, Bharara asked for clarity about whether the requests for resignations applied to him, given his previous conversation with Trump, and did not immediately get a definitive answer, according to a person familiar with the exchange.
When asked Friday whether Bharara was also being asked for a resignation letter, one White House official not authorized to speak publicly said, “Everybody’s gone,” and would not engage further on the issue. Two people close to Trump said the president’s chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and Attorney General Jeff Sessions want a clean slate of federal prosecutors and are unconcerned about any perception that the White House appears to have changed its mind about Bharara. The ouster of former president Barack Obama’s federal prosecutors is about asserting who’s in power, these people said.
Earlier Saturday, when the administration had still not received Bharara’s resignation, Boente attempted to call the U.S. attorney to find out why, but the two men did not immediately connect, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
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He sounds like someone who should have been kept.
But what donI know.
New York Magazine?????
I would never believe anything that MSM pulp would print.
Sounds like a convenient Tempest in a Teapot. Bharara probably coordinated this with Schumer.
Bharara also put away a couple of high profile NY politicians but seemed to flinch when it came to going after the big guns, Prince Andy Cuomo and Chucky “Get out of my way, Plebe” Schumer.
It is possible that he simply found no evidence against either of them in exactly the same way that it is possible that Loretta Lynch’s secret airplane meeting with Bill Clinton was perfectly innocent. Sure. Why not?
Anyway, he’s gone now. Let him be replaced by someone excellent!
From the NY Times:
Last week, several public interest groups, including Democracy 21 and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, called on Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and an aggressive prosecutor of corruption, to investigate the Trump Organization, the New York-based business through which Mr. Trump owns and controls his hotels, golf courses and other holdings. But that effort might not go far because the Department of Justice on Friday asked Mr. Bharara and 45 other United States attorneys appointed by former President Barack Obama to resign.
Trump apparently liked the fact that Bharara has been investigating Mayor De Blasio’s fund raising and he had told the attorney that he would stay in his job, which according to Bharara had been confirmed by Sessions a week or so ago. What a difference a simple request for a Trump Organization investigation can bring – actually kind of scary – you know, “Where there is smoke . . .”
Speculation now arises that Preet Bharara may enter the New York Governor’s race against Andrew Cuomo – as I Democrat, I guess. Trump has certainly put his name on the map.
Notice the difference in the headlines.
Geraldo Rivera’s theory
Mike Cernovich’s theory
CNN is hot and bothered over this firing! That said it was a dramatic situation. And they were breathlessly reading statements from democrats who of course attacked Trump over this.
Good gosh… this is a true nothing story. They serve at the pleasure of the President and he asked them all to leave!
CNN again trying to make some more fake news.Why all the hand ringing? Never mind we know why!
Sorry “They” said……
That’s all very nice, and like any law & order type I appreciate Bharara’s good work, but I’m not entirely convinced that the empire will stand or fall by stamping out insider trading. There are a few things I’d like to see moved up a bit on the AG’s “to do” list.
What is it about “political appointee” that makes people like this think they have the right to hold these jobs for as long as they want?
You serve at the pleasure of the president. If the president wants you gone, you’re gone. You knew that when you accepted the appointment. If you didn’t want that, you should have taken a civil service job.
Democrats must enjoy being fired. I wonder if the “I was fired by President Trump” tattoo is becoming popular.
Being fired is the red badge of courage for these Dems. They WANT to be fired to show their stand against the evil they see. May history judge them fairly and harshly.
Certainly, Bharara has done an admirable job in going after corrupt politicians in NY and on Wall Street. He is even investigating DeBlasio and Cuomo. Sounds like an upstanding attorney.
I wonder though now with the FISA mess and the Trump Tower surveillance at the request of DOJ, he must have known about this. Also, with reports of another FISA warrant in Manhattan and outside of Trump Tower probably made him suspect. Plus he was Chief of Staff for Schumer. Big strike. Then we have Anthony Wiener I believe is in his jurisdiction and he is still out walking freely. I believe he went after Dinesh Sesouza as well and wanted the comments of regular Americans from the Reason website.
Time for him to go! Drain the swamp!
Bye Felicia, you’re a non-story.
It makes perfect sense to release him now. He’s a NY state US attorney, appointed by the Obama administration, who would be in charge of any investigation into Trump’s businesses. What part of that does *not* scream out to be used as a leftist assault against Trump?
Far better to release him and appoint somebody who can be vetted to be as neutral as possible instead of a ticking potential Democratic political bomb.
First of all, every president requests the resignation of almost all appointed officials from the previous administration. Some are accepted some are not.
This idiot most likely would have not have had is resignation accepted if he had just kept his mouth shut and done what he was told to do.
Instead he gets insanely stupid and lets his mouth overload his but, and now the administration is forced to cut him out like a cancerous cist.
Sadly in government and in business, you wonder how such stupid people get to such high positions.
You said what I was thinking – if he had kept quiet and turned in what was asked, they might have refused to accept it. Maybe not, but there was a chance.
But by refusing when everyone else complied, he put Trump and Sessions on the spot, and they would have looked like weak and easily manipulated if they had given in. No boss in government or in the private world can let himself to be seen to be manipulated by an employee like that, so he sealed his fate.
President Trump won the election with a promise to drain the Washington swamp. No swamp is more in need of draining than the Department of Justice, horribly corrupted by eight years of misrule. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has his work cut out for him. Bureaucrats and lawyers at DOJ will fight him every step of the way as he tries to reform the department.
The press will fight him, too–especially when it comes to efforts to restore professionalism to the Civil Rights Division. That division is now a cesspool of bias and incompetence, but reporters will imply that every effort Sessions makes to reform it is “racist.”
Sessions faces a daunting task, but he is the right man for the job. Conservatives need to be prepared to support him, aggressively, as he begins to clean the Augean stables of the Department of Justice.
Of all the Obama administration scandals, what Barack Obama, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch did to the Department of Justice is probably the worst. Two manifestations of the depths to which DOJ has fallen emerged today. First, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the highly partisan Democrat who selectively prosecuted Dinesh D’Souza for a felony and tried to send him to jail because he contributed too much to a Senate campaign, loudly announced that he refused to resign his position as requested by the Attorney General, his boss.
Instead, Bharara insisted that he be fired. This is nothing more than silly grandstanding, but it got Bharara what he wanted–headlines beneficial to a future political career–and it gave reporters what they wanted–an opportunity to pretend, for one more day, that there is something sinister in the routine replacement of political appointees. Bharara typifies the highly partisan nature of Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, but his publicity stunt was mostly just plain annoying.
Far more serious is the deep corruption that Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch introduced into DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
(via Powerline Blog)
Isn’t the Clinton Foundation located in the Southern District of New York? Just asking.
Thomas Lifson sums it up well at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/03/mainstream_media_supplements_fake_news_with_fake_outrage_over_firing_of_us_attorney_preet_bharara.html
On Wall Street crimes, Bharara seems to have conspired with Obama to trade cash for prison time, and to direct cash penalties to Obama activist cronies. To paraphrase Dan “Fake but True” Rather, the practice is Corrupt but Legal.
I think it’s really sad that there’s no place in the Trump administration for a gay vampire from Meereen.