Ex-prosecutor Preet Bharara fired for not taking Trump's call
Preet Bharara, the Indian-origin former New York district attorney, said he was fired by President Donald Trump after he refused to take a third phone call from him. He said he had answered two calls from Trump in communication which crossed a boundary separating the president's office and independent criminal investigators. Bharara was fired on March 10, a day after he refused to resign.
On June 9, Ex-FBI director James Comey testified before a Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, revealing the circumstances leading to his controversial dismissal by President Donald Trump. Comey is a key witness in the probe into Russia's alleged interference in the presidential election and Moscow's links to the Trump campaign. Comey's much anticipated explosive testimony sent shockwave across Washington.
Bharara said Trump called him on March 9. He said: "The call came in. I got a message. We deliberated over it, thought it was inappropriate to return the call. And 22 hours later I was asked to resign along with 45 other people."
Bharara told ABC News that Trump was trying to "cultivate some kind of relationship" after they met in late 2016. He considered this, as well as the other phone calls by Trump "inappropriate." "The number of times that President Obama called me in seven and a half years was zero," he said. He said the prosecutors must maintain an arm's length with the president.
Bharara's interview came days after the Congressional testimony of his old friend, the former FBI director James Comey. Bharara defended Comey, saying the manner in which Trump communicated with the ex-FBI director gave him a sense of "déjà vu." He said Trump called him once each during December 2016 and January 2017 to check-in on him, similar to how the president contacted Comey.
Bharara also criticized Trump for calling Comey "very cowardly" for leaking contents of their private conversations to the media. Bharara admitted that although Comey hadn't chosen the best way to release his notes, but pointed out the information he leaked wasn't classified.