President Donald Trump asked for the resignations of 46 US Attorneys in the Justice Department. The news came on Friday at the end of the working day and shocked many members of the Justice Department. It is normal for presidents to replace attorney generals from prior administrations but the timing of the move has some questioning whether this is an attempt to cause disarray over possible investigations of the Trump administration and associates. One prominent example of this is US Attorney General for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara.
At the beginning of the presidential transition, Trump met with Bharara and he was apparently told that he would stay on as attorney general. However, Bharara received the same notice that asked for his resignation and he refused. As a result, he was fired by Trump.
Bharara posted to Twitter:
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
When Bharara was attorney general, he was feared by major Wall Street companies and hedge funds because of his prosecution of criminal misconduct. Earlier this month, the government ethics watch group Democracy 21, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Campaign Legal Center sent a letter to Bharara. The letter asked for an investigation of Trump and read in part, “Democracy 21, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Campaign Legal Center request that you undertake an investigation to determine if the Trump Organization LLC, the Trump Organization, Inc., and any related Trump businesses based in the Southern District of New York are receiving payments and financial benefits from foreign governments that benefit President Donald Trump and that do not comply with Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, the ‘Foreign Emoluments Clause.'”
Now some are saying Bharara was fired because such an investigation would be troubling for Trump. Among those expressing such sentiment is Congressman Elijah Cummings, who stated recently, “Just not very long ago, the president was saying that he was going to keep the U.S. attorney there in New York. And then, suddenly, he’s, I guess, changed his mind. I’m just curious as to why that is …And certainly, there’s a lot of questions coming up as to whether Mr. Trump is – President Trump is concerned about the jurisdiction of this U.S. attorney and whether that might affect his future.”
As of this morning, President Trump has not released a tweet in response to Bharara.