Why Was Preet Bharara Fired? — From Conspiracy to Commonality
The Obama appointed U.S Attorney from the Southern District of New York has found himself in the middle of Trump administration political theatre. Bharara was asked to resign on Friday as part of the new administration’s dismissal of forty-six United States Attorneys. This was in no way an unusual or suspicious development for an incoming administration to rid itself of the previous administration’s appointees; however, opponents of the Trump administration wasted no time digging deeper into the situation to cast a light on what they perceived as corrupt motivations for Mr. Bharara’s pink-slip. His jurisdiction of influence and his stellar record as a formidable prosecutor of high-profile targets have the conspiracy machine working overtime dissecting what transpired.
During the presidential transition, Mr. Bharara met with President-Elect Trump in Trump tower to discuss his future are the U.S Attorney from the Southern District of New York; a district which happens to encompass Wall-Street and Trump Tower itself. Following the meeting, Mr. Bharara approached the cameras is Trump tower and stated, “President elect asked, presumably because he’s a New Yorker, and is aware of the great work our office has done over the past seven years, asked to meet with me to discuss whether or not I’d be prepared to stay on as United States Attorney. To do the work as we have done it 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 to be Attorney General. He also as that I stay on. So I expect I will continue to work in the southern district of New York.”
On Friday Bharara found himself carried away in the tide of a new administration getting its sea-legs. The verbal agreement reached was breached and he was asked to resign by the Justice Department under the control of Jeff Sessions, who he referenced in his statement to the cameras. He refused to willingly resign and was summarily fired by the Administration on Saturday, defiantly writing on 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.” Although the termination of US Attorney by a new administration is common, Bharara’s apparent agreement with the President himself to stay in his position has some questioning the motives.
Mr. Bharara has made a name for himself investigating and prosecuting Wall-Street bigwigs and members of the political class. Last week, days before Mr. Bharara was released by the administration, his office received a request by a government watchdog group, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, asking for him to investigate the sitting president for ethics violations. The allegations relate to the Foreign Emoluments Clause in the Constitution, in this instance being centered around President Trump being accused of taking payments from foreign governments through his many business interests.
Reports by NBC have also focused on the pending federal investigation of Deutsche Bank for money laundering practices. Having settled with the State of New York regarding the charges, it’s now the government’s chance to punish the bank for the accused fiduciary fraud. Adding to the intrigue is Bharara would have been the prosecutor to possible take on the case for the federal government. Dovetailing the story is the fact that Donald Trump is reported to be heavily in debt to Deutsche Bank. The has been no direct links drawn between the activities of Mr. Bharara’s office and his abrupt firing. As with so many facets of the Trump administration there seems to be a lot of smoke but a fire has yet to legally burn anyone.