President Trump, seemingly tired of holdover Obama appointees undermining his presidency, issued an ultimatum this week. Today, he delivered on his promise.
This afternoon, United States Attorney for New York Preet Bharara tweeted out that he was fired, after refusing to resign. Earlier this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked 46 Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys, including Bharara, to resign. Sessions was seemingly working under President Trump’s order to “drain the swamp,” beginning at the Justice Department. Bharara had publicly refused to do so, saying both President Trump and AG Sessions had told him last year that he would be allowed to stay.
Here is the tweet issued by Preet Bharara.
“One hallmark of justice is absolute independence, and that was my touchstone every day that I served. I want to thank the amazing people of the Southern District of New York, the greatest public servants in the world, for everything they do each day in pursuit of justice,” Bharara said in a statement. “They will continue to do the great work of the Office under the leadership of Joon H. Kim, the current Deputy U.S. Attorney, who will serve as Acting U.S. Attorney.”
A senior administration official, however, told Fox News that Bharara may be using this event for political gain. Bharara has long been speculated as a potential candidate for public office in New York.
The word “fired” was never used toward Bharara, according to the senior administration official, who added: “Preet is trying to make this into a thing. But it is not really a thing.”
The senior administration official also noted that everyone was treated the same, meaning that all of the Obama-appointed US attorney were asked to step down.
It was previously reported by the Associated Press that Bharara was not complying with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ request to resign along with other prosecutors appointed by former President Barack Obama.
The press will likely raise a furor over President Trump’s request to the attorneys to resign. It is not, however, without some precedence.
Government appointees serve at the leisure of the President. Bharara seems to have forgotten that.
It is customary, though not automatic, for the country’s 93 U.S. attorneys to leave their positions once a new president is in office. Incoming administrations over the past several decades typically have replaced most U.S. attorneys during the first year or two.
President Trump seems to only be expediting things. It appears, however, that the remaining Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys were not taking the customary move of stepping aside. It seems he has little patience for the standard operating procedure of government and is being proactive in changing things himself.
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