Published: Sun, March 12, 2017
Business | By Sandy Mccarthy

U.S. prosecutor Bharara says he has been fired in tweet

U.S. prosecutor Bharara says he has been fired in tweet

About an hour after the New York Times reported that he does not intend to step down after being asked for his resignation yesterday, along with almost four dozen federal prosecutors, Bharara tweeted at 2:29 pm - "I did not resign".

Donald Trump got to say one of his favorite phrases to US attorney Preet Bharara: "You're fired!"

The dismissal of the USA attorneys drew condemnation from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who said in a statement that the move cast doubt on whether Sessions is interested in protecting the non-partisan work of federal prosecutors.

The federal attorney's firing capped a standoff with the Trump administration that started when Bharara refused the White House order to resign. "Moments ago I was sacked".

U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico Damon Martinez resigned from office Friday afternoon at the request of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Bharara was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2009, and he was long a bipartisan voice against public corruption.

The prosecutor was once lauded on the cover of Time magazine as the man who is "busting Wall Street".

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Presidents often order political appointees from the previous administration to resign when they take office, but the abrupt nature of the move caught some by surprise - especially given that so many were asked to leave at one time.

Even though Bharara could be reappointed, his inclusion in the list of all the other Obama appointees came as a surprise because after a meeting with Trump in November he told reporters that he had been asked to stay on as federal prosecutor or USA district attorney. He told reporters in November that he had been asked by Mr Trump to stay on, and had agreed.

Several weeks after the election, Bharara met with President-elect Trump at Trump Tower and afterward said Trump had asked him to stay on.

The Times suggested on Friday that, while Bharara will presumably be temporarily succeeded by his deputy Joon H. Kim, Marc Mukasey is one of a few names being floated to replace him.

"Republican Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin tweeted that the White House request was a "big mistake", urging Trump to "#KeepPreetInTheSeat".

He had been overseeing an investigation into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Bharara was sacked just hours after he refused to comply with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' order on Friday for 46 USA attorneys (all the ones that had been nominated by the Obama administration) to resign, effective immediately.

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