On Friday Jeff Sessions required all US Attorneys to submit their resignation effective COB Friday giving them all a free weekend they hadn’t counted on. You’d think they would be grateful, no longer having their honor besmirched by having the server the World’s Greatest Monster, but there was at least one ingrate.
Preet Bharara, the Manhattan federal prosecutor who was told to submit his resignation along with 45 others on Friday, has no plans to do so — forcing a potential showdown with President Trump and the Department of Justice.
Mr. Bharara, whose office is overseeing a case against a top aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and an investigation into people close to Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, has told several people that he did not hand in a resignation on Friday, as he was ordered to do by the acting deputy attorney general, Dana Boente.
He also does not intend to do so over the weekend, he said in conversations with associates, a move that could force the hand of the Trump administration.
A spokesman for Mr. Bharara declined to comment.
Mr. Bharara was asked by Mr. Trump to remain in his current post in a meeting in late November, a few weeks after the presidential election. Mr. Bharara met with Mr. Trump at Trump Tower, and then addressed reporters afterward, saying that he had been asked to remain and had given the president his promise to do so.
But Mr. Bharara was one of the 46 holdovers from the Obama administration who abruptly received a call on Friday telling him to vacate.
Officials with the White House and the Department of Justice did not respond to requests for comment about how they plan to handle Mr. Bharara.
I think if there was any doubt in Trump’s mind that he had made the right decision in booting Bharara, that doubt just evaporated.
As I was writing this post, this came in:
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
If you are shocked by Trump apparently reneging on an agreement he had with Bharara, read this, take a couple of Tylenol, and wait for Trump to deny a deal ever existed.
Unlike some of my compatriots, I don’t think firing Bharara was a bad move. He was a crony of Chuck Schumer and seems to have a Trump-level obsession with hanging prominent scalps from this lodge pole (I know, wrong Indian metaphor) and getting press attention. (Read this WaPo profile.)
At some point he was obviously going to look to electoral politics (Hollywood for ugly people, right?) and he would do so with the backing Schumer’s machine. So firing him not only opens a position for someone else but it puts a minor pothole in his road to political advancement.
I’m not a professional prosecutor so I don’t know if he’s as good as he claims to be but what I do know is that the graveyard is full of indispensable men and the idea that this one guy keeping his job in vital to the Republic is nonsense.