Preet Bharara Fired After Refusing To Submit Resignation Per DOJ's Request
Preet Bharara, the Manhattan federal prosecutor known for his crusade against public corruption, will not submit his resignation, despite DOJ's request.
On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked all 46 US attorneys appointed by President Obama to resign. Included in this group of law enforcement officials is Preet Bharara, who currently serves as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The request for Mr. Bharara's resignation is surprising given Trump's meeting with the US Attorney in November. Following the meeting, Bharara told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower, "[w]e had a good meeting. I agreed to stay on. I have already spoken to Sen. [Jeff] 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."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senator from New York, said the move contradicts what he was told by Trump. Sen. Schumer released a a statement saying, in part, "[t]he President initiated a call to me in November and assured me he wanted Mr. Bharara to continue to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District."
For over seven years, Mr. Bharara has been the most aggressive and outspoken prosecutors of public corruption and Wall Street crime. Under Bharara's leadership, the Southern District has been praised for its insider trading investigations, focus on civil rights cases and for its tireless prosecution of terrorists.
In addition to Bharara, 45 other US Attorneys have been asked for their resignation. While it is not abnormal for a new Administration to ask for the resignations of US Attorneys, the sudden and unexpected wide-spread request is far from standard procedure. According to Sen. Schumer, "[b]y asking for the immediate resignation of every remaining U.S. Attorney before their replacements have been confirmed or even nominated, the President is interrupting ongoing cases and investigations and hindering the administration of justice."
UPDATED: After refusing to submit his resignation, Preet Bharara was fired on Saturday, March 11, 2017. Mr. Bharara confirmed the termination in a tweet, stating: "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."