US Attorney Preet Bharara Will Not Resign

Preet Bharara

Preet Bharara

The move came as a surprise, and there are certain odd aspects to it - like the fact that Trump reportedly asked Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of NY, to resign despite previously telling him he could stay on.

Acting Attorney General Dana Boente asked Bharara to resign on Trump's behalf Friday, along with all 45 other holdout US attorneys from Barack Obama's administration.

"I did not resign", Bharara tweeted Saturday. "Moments ago I was sacked".

Bharara maintained a high-profile in NY media and social circles, by virtue of his office and his focus on white-collar crime and Wall Street malfeasance, particularly insider trading.

Currently, his office is looking into a case related to a top adviser of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as a probe into allegations that New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and his allies engaged in a pay-for-play. Following the meeting, media reports said that Trump had asked Bharara to stay. I said I would absolutely consider staying on.

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The position of USA attorney is a political appointment made by the president.

What role, if any, Bharara's team is playing in the multiple investigations of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential campaign, Russian contacts by Trump aides, and Michael Flynn's actions leading up to and while serving as national security adviser is unclear. While it's not uncommon for a new administration to ask for the resignation of the previous administration's appointees, the move seems to have come as a bit of a shock to some of the prosecutors. He was appointed to his position by President Barack Obama in 2009.

The Trump administration on Saturday fired a high-profile prosecutor who'd been asked days before to investigate whether the president is violating the U.S. Constitution by receiving payments from foreign countries. Mr. Bharara met with Mr. Trump at Trump Tower, and then addressed reporters afterward, saying that he had been asked to remain and had given the president his promise to do so. Bharara served as chief counsel to Schumer during the latter years of George W Bush's presidency, and led the investigation into the abrupt dismissals of U.S. attorneys in 2006.

Bharara fell foul of Indians in 2013, for his handling of the case involving Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested on charges of providing false information on a visa application for a domestic help she brought with her from India.

A request for comment to the White House on who initially asked for Bharara to stay on board was not immediately returned, though Schumer's office put out a statement shortly after the news broke on Friday expressed concern with the decision.

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