New York: Preet Bharara, the top Manhattan Prosecutor who was among 46 other U.S. attorneys asked to step down late Friday, was fired after he refused to hand in his resignation.
This came after the Justice Department announced that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked for the resignation of 46 US attorneys.
“As was the case in prior transitions, many of the United States attorneys nominated by the previous administration already have left the Department of Justice. The attorney general has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed US attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure a uniform transition,” Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said.
“Until the new U.S. attorneys are confirmed, the dedicated career prosecutors in our U.S. attorney’s offices will continue the great work of the department in investigating, prosecuting, and deterring the most violent offenders,” Flores said.
Citing sources, media reported that Bharara indicated he would not submit a letter of resignation as requested by the Trump administration, placing the President in the position of having to fire him in a public standoff.
Bharara felt blindsided by the DOJ’s step, as he had been told after a meeting with the President-elect in November that he would stay on, sources added.
Speaking to the media after his meeting with Trump in 2016, the top prosecutor had said at the time, “The president-elect asked, presumably because he’s a New Yorker and is aware of the great work that our office has done over the past seven years, asked to met with me to discuss whether or not I’d be prepared to stay on as the United States attorney to do the work we have done, independently, without fear or favor for the last seven years.
“We had a good meeting. I said I would absolutely consider staying on. I agreed to stay on. I have already spoken to Senator Sessions, who as you know is the nominee for attorney general. He also asked that I stay on, and so I expect that I will be continuing to work at the southern district,” he added.