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Abrupt dismissals spark turmoil among federal prosecutors in U.S.

32 Comments
By SADIE GURMAN

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32 Comments
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Sessions should clean out his own desk as well as his closet.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Preet Bharara should hold his head high. Being fired by Trump is a badge of honor.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Now the AGs know how Trump's ex-wives feel.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

US Presidents have the prerogative to put their own prosecutors in the Justice Dept (indeed Reagan, Bush, and Clinton had done their purges), but this is making waves because of how it's done. While federal prosecutors have to expect to leave when there's a change in administration, usually the transition is phased out so that workflows go smoothly as the replacements get up to speed.

But the manner this was done, without even prior notice of a couple days during Session's pep talk (what was the point of the pep talk then?), is like how Trump would fire people running his business empire. It's the same way Trump did his first Executive Order on Immigration Ban that failed - just abrupt with no prior notice to anybody.

What's even more surprising is the case of US prosecutor Bharara. He was popular among the people, Democrats and Republicans alike, because he went hard after the bankers of Wall Street. Time Magazine even featured him on the cover as "This Man Is Busting Wall Street":

http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,20120213,00.html

Known as the "Sheriff of Wall Street," he was also fiercely independent, going after Fox News for sexual assault allegations as well as corruption charges on NYC Democrat mayor De Blasio. Even Trump and Sessions told him he would be retained, just after the election back in Nov at the Trump Tower when Bharara was paraded in front of the media as a spotlight for Trump:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?419288-4/preet-bharara-trump-tower

So it seems Trump and Sessions did not honor their word, plus only gave Bharara short notice to clear his desk.

Trump himself did apparently make an attempt to speak with Bharara in advance of the Friday demand for resignations. The president reached out through a secretary on his staff to Bharara a day earlier but the two men never spoke, according to a person told about the conversation but who requested anonymity.

Trump should know it's against federal rules for US Attorneys to talk with the US President, to avoid any sign of impropriety - that's why Bharara couldn't take Trump's call while in office.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Trump should know

Great Expectations

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't know why this is so surprising? Everything Trump has said and done so far has an extremely disturbing punitive tone to it, almost as if everything he will be doing will be revenge or retribution for something. This fits his and his team's standard behaviour perfectly: punitive, almost troll-like, with humiliation as the main objective

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How many Wall Street banksters did Preet Bharara throw in jail?

ZERO

Much of the public attention since Friday has focused on Preet Bharara

Much of the MSM attention since Friday has focused on Preet Bharara

There, fixed it for ya SADIE GURMAN. Your fake news is showing.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

How many Wall Street banksters did Preet Bharara throw in jail? ZERO

Nonsense. He went after plenty of banksters. Madoff, Galleon group, Citibank to name a few.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Leotards still can't accept reality. Clinton purged all 93 US Attorneys on the same day back in '93, proudly and with the lapdog media' s fawning. Yada-Yada. The hypocrisy from the lovers is astounding. Newsflash; the shoe is now on the other foot.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

How many Wall Street banksters did Preet Bharara throw in jail? ZERO

How many swindling billionaires did he throw in jail? ZERO What are the chances a new NY DA will throw a swindling billionaire in jail? ZERO

Sure, fire the guy. I have no use for him failing to prosecute bankers in criminal cases.

In fact, I can guarantee the next DA will be worse. Just look at the choice of Jefferson Sessions as the AG.

Besides, what else did Trump do? He hired those same Wall Street banksters to be in his cabinet.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sour grapes by the truckload for the left-loonies. Hypocrites. Trump needs to purge a lot more Obama holdovers, including in the "intelligence" agencies.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Sour grapes by the truckload for the left-loonies. Hypocrites.

Sure, and the GoP strategy of repeal ACA or bust is really well thought out. They have had years and years to plan, but this is all they can come up with. There wasn't much thought beyond repeat and repeating lies, e.g., death panels. They have said the lies so long, they even believe them.

GoP is also a bunch of hypocrites, and their followers can't tell real news from fake news, which is worse.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Trump needs to purge a lot more Obama holdovers, including in the "intelligence" agencies.

Oh, yeah - I'd love to see that Nixonian reaction come down barely two months into Trump's likely truncated tenure. He already has many enemies who have power, and he's making many more who have the dirt on him. Bring it on, Donald.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Serves many of them right. The way in which the DoJ and other US prosecuters have operated over the past decade is scandal. Bullying banks and other companies into settlement to avoid excessive bad publicity and information leaks and multi year trials is just one tactic. Justice involving the State in the US is far from impartial these days.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Being fired by Trump is a badge of honor.

Sure if you reside in bizzaro world!!

For a person known as the sheriff of Wall street, the lack of convictions scream volumes!!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Besides, what else did Trump do? He hired those same Wall Street banksters to be in his cabinet.

It is a great record overall but there were definitely missed opportunities for Prett to go after mortgage companies at more than the civil level. Part of the reason was not more support from Obama's Justice Department. But if he does run for governor or mayor of New York it is something that is going to have to be explained.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Just another day in the poorly planned transition of the Trump team.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yet another manufactured "outrage" created by the Democratic Party's propaganda wing (aka, the radical alt-left media) who hates President Trump because he exposed them as the imposters they are. Then again, watching them act like their hair's on fire when "reporting" on the Trump administration is very entertaining. . . .

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Yet another manufactured "outrage" created by the Democratic Party's propaganda wing (aka, the radical alt-left media)

Riiigghhttt...And other than in the mind of little Eichmans, could you please show the manufactured part? Can you prove that?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But the abrupt nature of the dismissals — done with little explanation and not always with the customary thanks for years of service — stunned and angered some of those left behind in offices around the country.

Which is different from the way Clinton and Obama did the exact same thing in what way? They all know the deal. Half had even quit already. All this whining and preening by the press and the political ambitious attorney up in NY is just a media show to re-enforce the narrative that Trump is somehow akin to Hitler. It's ridiculous - but the media fell for it as usual.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Preet was operating under the assumption that he would stay on after a meeting with the president elect at Trump Tower to that effect in November. Not sure if any of the others were given similar assurances.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The request for resignations from the 46 prosecutors who were holdovers from the Obama administration wasn’t shocking. It’s fairly customary for the 93 U.S. attorneys to leave their posts once a new president is in office, and many had already left or were making plans for their departures. Sessions himself was asked to resign as a U.S. attorney in a similar purge by Attorney General Janet Reno in 1993.

But the abrupt nature of the dismissals - done with little explanation and not always with the customary thanks for years of service - stunned and angered some of those left behind in offices around the country.

It's bizarre that some in the media are suddenly making a big deal out of the "customary" change of U.S. attorneys. The U.S. attorney's are usually changed by incoming Presidents. It's SOP.

Much of the public attention since Friday has focused on Preet Bharara, the high-profile Manhattan federal prosecutor who said he was fired despite meeting with then-President-elect Donald Trump and saying he was asked to remain.

Why should Bharara be treated any differently than any of the other U.S. attorneys? Why don't the usual rules apply to him?

Bharara is the one who claims he was asked to remain. The President replaced him. It looks like Bharara didn't understand the situation, or doesn't want to understand the situation. Bharara, along with the other U.S. attorneys, all had the same option. Resign, or be fired. Either way, Bharara was leaving his position.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Bharara is the one who claims he was asked to remain. The President replaced him. It looks like Bharara didn't understand the situation, or doesn't want to understand the situation.

He met with Trump and Trump said he would keep him on. Its not the end of the world, but shows how one hand in Trump's team probably has no idea what the other is doing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Trump promised to keep him on as a favor to Schumer so I'm thinking what happened is a fallout between the president and the senator rather than anything directly involving Preet.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

SuperLib - He met with Trump and Trump said he would keep him on. Its not the end of the world, but

It's Preet Bharara who claimed that the President-elect wanted to keep him on. Unfortunately for Bharara, there doesn't seem to be any confirmation of his claim.

Bharara, along with many other U.S. attorneys, was asked to resign. He refused. Bharara was then fired. The firing and hiring of U.S. attorneys by the incoming President is a normal practice.

It must be a really slow news day if the news outlets are choosing to make this a major story.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's Preet Bharara who claimed that the President-elect wanted to keep him on. Unfortunately for Bharara, there doesn't seem to be any confirmation of his claim.

Bharara was paraded in front of the media in Trump Tower as a spotlight for Trump:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?419288-4/preet-bharara-trump-tower

Trump is a showbiz guy - he knew exactly what happens when people go in front of those elevators. And Trump never contradicted Bharara. Bharara is a smart guy - he would not had said what he said if Trump was ambiguous with him. Even now, Trump has not claimed what Bharara said back then was incorrect. So more than likely, Bharara was correct with his assessment back then.

Bharara, along with many other U.S. attorneys, was asked to resign. He refused. Bharara was then fired. The firing and hiring of U.S. attorneys by the incoming President is a normal practice.

Yes, it's normal practice - nobody has claimed otherwise. As I mentioned above, even Reagan, Bush, and Clinton had their purges. It's the manner how this whole thing was done that's why it's making waves, compared to how Reagan, Bush, and Clinton which happened relatively quietly.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

lostrune2 - Trump is a showbiz guy - he knew exactly what happens when people go in front of those elevators. And Trump never contradicted Bharara. Bharara is a smart guy - he would not had said what he said if Trump was ambiguous with him. Even now, Trump has not claimed what Bharara said back then was incorrect. So more than likely, Bharara was correct with his assessment back then.

"More than likely"? Really?

Bharara has also claimed that Sessions made the same promise. Bharara's problem is that no one has confirmed his claims. No, wait-a-minute, Bharara's problem is that he is "more than likely" still fired, because he refused to resign. All U.S. attorneys understand that they can be replaced by the next incoming administration. Bharara seems to have a problem with that simple fact.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lostrune2 - Trump is a showbiz guy - he knew exactly what happens when people go in front of those elevators. And Trump never contradicted Bharara. Bharara is a smart guy - he would not had said what he said if Trump was ambiguous with him. Even now, Trump has not claimed what Bharara said back then was incorrect. So more than likely, Bharara was correct with his assessment back then.

"More than likely"? Really?

Bharara has also claimed that Sessions made the same promise. Bharara's problem is that no one has confirmed his claims. No, wait-a-minute, Bharara's problem is that he is "more than likely" still fired, because he refused to resign. All U.S. attorneys understand that they can be replaced by the next incoming administration. Bharara seems to have a problem with that simple fact.

Sessions was with Trump when they met Bharara at the Trump Tower, so technically Trump and Sessions made the promise together with Bharara.

It's not Bharara's problem that no one has confirmed is claim - it's Trump's problem that nobody --not even Trump himself nor Sessions-- has ever contradicted Bharara's claim despite numerous opportunities to do so. It was all over the news - it was seen as a coup for Trump, a spotlight for him, that he would be a good Chief in retaining a popular US Attorney that's supported by the people Democrats and Republicans alike. Trump never contradicted that news, never said anything that would cast doubt about it, and even now after he fired Bharara, Trump still does not refute Bharara's claim. So unless Trump or Sessions says anything on the contrary, Bharara's claim seems to be true.

I don't think Bharara has a problem that he was let go. Most, if not all, US Attorneys have to expect to be switched out when there's a change in administration. The problem was the manner things went down. He was told he was going to be retained, and nobody made him think otherwise despite numerous opportunities that they could have, so he expected to be retained. So since he expected to be retained and prepared to be retained including continuing his legal works, when all of a sudden Trump and Sessions went back on their word, of course he likely feel peeved and disrespected that they didn't just tell him upfront instead of parading him in front of the media as a spotlight for Trump. So he likely refused and rather be fired as a form of personal protest.

And all signs suggest this decision by Trump or Sessions was done in haste. Just 2 days before the US Attorneys were fired, Sessions held a pep-talk for them. Now why would he hold a pep-talk for them if they're gonna be fired anyway just 2 days later? Sessions did the pep-talk as a sign that some may be retained or at least some may be retained for awhile as their replacements are phased in to continue their works. A pep-talk is not a sign of immediate dismissal. Otherwise, there's no point for a pep-talk - that only gives people false hope and a cruel way of firing people.

So this suggests that the decision for the immediate and mass firing was done after Session's pep-talk, with no prior warning. That just jives with how Trump would fire people running his business empire, and the same way Trump did his first Executive Order on Immigration Ban that failed - just abrupt with no prior notice to anybody.

So it seems that's how Trump would do things in the government as he did things with his business. But that's not how it's traditionally done in the government - and that's why it's making waves. Whether or not you think that's right or wrong is up for your debate, but it's the manner this whole thing went down --and not that it actually happened-- that's why it's making waves.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/nyregion/preet-bharara-us-attorney.html?_r=0

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-meet-manhattan-attorney-preet-bharara-source-article-1.2892952

I don't understand the controversy on this point. It was reported extensively at the time that he was asked to stay and confirmed by Senator Schumer among others.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Lizz - I don't understand the controversy on this point. It was reported extensively at the time that he was asked to stay and confirmed by Senator Schumer among others.

Schumer only confirmed that Bharara had told Schumer that he was staying. Bharara told many people that he had been asked to stay on. Media outlets reported Bharara's claim that he had been asked to stay on. Extensive reporting? The reports were all the same - Bharara said he was staying on. That is not conclusive proof that Bharara had actually been asked to stay.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Schumer also confirmed that Trump asked his opinion on the matter and assured him personally he he wanted Bharara to stay both in a statement last November and the Friday after his firing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

lostrune2 - Sessions was with Trump when they met Bharara at the Trump Tower, so technically Trump and Sessions made the promise together with Bharara.

It's not Bharara's problem that no one has confirmed is claim-

Bharara was fired. That's Bharara's problem. He was asked to resign, and he refused. That is also Bharara's problem.

The only one actually involved who says Bharara was asked to stay on is Bharara himself. Others have reported that Bharara told them that he was asked to stay on, but that is not a confirmation of Bharara's claim. That's Bharara confirming Bharar's story.

Lizz - Schumer also confirmed that Trump asked his opinion on the matter and assured him personally he he wanted Bharara to stay both in a statement last November and the Friday after his firing.

Schumer hates Trump and never misses an opportunity to attack, or try to embarrass his administration. Hardly an unbiased outsider. Trump doesn't like Schumer. Such is politics. Schumer gave Trump Schumer's opinion as to whether Trump should keep Bharara. The final decision was that Bharara was one of the many U.S. attorneys who were replaced. That's SOP for incoming administrations. Bharara doesn't like that decision, but it was never his choice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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