Top New York prosecutor refuses Jeff Sessions' request to resign

Cheryl Sanders
March 14, 2017

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.

"I did not resign", Bharara said in his tweet. "Moments ago I was sacked", he wrote.

The 48-year-old Bharara was asked by then-President-elect President Donald Trump to remain as US attorney in Manhattan during a November meeting at Trump Tower.

CNN, in a Friday story headlined "Anger mounts over handling of U.S. attorney firings", said the problem with Trump's move is that he didn't give the prosecutors adequate warning.

The abrupt dismissal of the 46 remaining Obama-era US attorneys raised eyebrows, but Trump White House officials have repeatedly stressed that previous administrations have done the same thing. "The Attorney General has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed US attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure a uniform transition". The request came as a surprise for many in his office because, in a meeting in November, Bharara was asked by the then-president-elect to stay on. Would Mr. Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, please call back?

Bharara has made public corruption and insider trading an emphasis since President Barack Obama appointed him midway through 2009.

The Justice Department did not issue a statement on Bharara's abrupt departure.

Within hours of the order, USA attorneys around the country - including in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Montana - had publicly announced their resignations. Not every new administration replaces all USA attorneys at once. Bharara, however, did not immediately return the call. "Needless to say it is personally very sad for me".

The Daily Beast reported late Friday that Bharara may instead be trying to force Sessions to fire him.

However, the request has been criticised by Senate Democrat leader Charles Schumer who said that on previous occasions attorneys had been asked to submit resignation letters but were allowed to remain in their role "until their successor is confirmed".

Schumer would not speculate on why Bharara, who previously served as Schumer's general counsel, was fired.

Other reports by iNewsToday