United States attorneys appointed by Obama, including Fishman, abruptly told to resign
- Author: Zachary Reyes Mar 12, 2017,
Mar 12, 2017, 22:43
The Justice Department allegedly "fired" attorney Preet Bharara on Saturday, who refused to leave after President Donald Trump requested that attorneys from the previous administration resign.
A U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman announced in a statement Friday afternoon "many" of the Obama-nominated U.S. Attorneys had already left their positions.
Bharara was asked by then-President-Elect President Donald Trump to remain as USA attorney in Manhattan during a November meeting.
"Bharara's decision not to resign if anything will be considered a badge of honor in NY", said Edward Little, a partner at the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed, and a former federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY. One U.S. attorney appointed by Bush, Rod Rosenstein of Maryland, remained on the job for the entire Obama administration and is the current nominee for deputy attorney general.
Reno said she asked for the resignations, according to The Sun Sentinel, "so that the USA attorneys presently in position will know where they stand and so that we can begin to build a team that represents a Department of Justice that represents my views and the views of President Clinton".
But Bharara felt he had a deal, brokered directly with President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions back in a November meeting at Trump Tower.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Saturday he was sacked after refusing to resign his post.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara speaks at City & State's 10th anniversary gala in Midtown.
On Friday afternoon, attorney general Jeff Sessions told the prosecutors, almost all appointed by Barack Obama, that they should resign from their posts.
It is unclear is any of them will be reappointed in those posts by the new administration.
A spokesman for Bharara declined immediate comment. There was, however, some confusion as to whether the administration had specifically decided Bharara, despite the earlier conversations about staying on, should go. The demand for resignations seems a way to ensure he will have a team of new federal prosecutors more likely to share his agenda. In New Jersey, the First Assistant under Fishman is now William Fitzpatrick, who presumably would step in to become acting U.S. Attorney.
A separate USA official said that as part of regular intelligence briefings, Bharara would have been made aware of potential threats posed by foreign governments and inquiries related to those efforts.