A federal prosecutor in New York, who had been asked to stay in his post by President Donald Trump, was fired on Saturday after refusing an order from the Justice Department to resign his high profile position.
“I did not resign,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara tweeted after officially being told that he was on his way out of his job as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
“One hallmark of justice is absolute independence,” Bharara said in a written statement, “and that was my touchstone every day that I served.”
It was not immediately clear why Bharara had been pushed out, since President Trump had indicated to Bharara that he would be staying in that job in a Trump Administration.
Back in late November, Bharara had gone to Trump Tower to meet with the President-Elect, and emerged to tell reporters that he would likely remain in his high profile federal post.
“We had a good meeting; I said I would absolutely consider staying on,” Bharara told the press on November 30.
But something changed in the interim.
Bharara was appointed to his job in 2009 by President Barack Obama; almost four dozen other U.S. Attorneys picked by Mr. Obama had been asked on short notice yesterday to turn in letters of resignation.
That is a standard procedure for a new administration, though a few federal prosecutors are sometimes kept on by a new President.