Preet Bharara, the prominent U.S. attorney from the Southern District of New York, made headlines on Saturday when he refused to to tender his resignation following the order from Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting the resignations from the 46 remaining U.S. prosecutors from the Obama Administration.
Bharara, a 2009 Barack Obama appointee who built a career investigating white collar crime, including corruption at the state and city level, which includes recent investigations of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s associates and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising activities, spent much of Saturday standing down the order, saying that in November, President Donald Trump had asked him to stay on.
Ultimately, despite his grandstanding, Bharara was dismissed. “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,” the 48-year-old prosecutor tweeted.
The liberal media has been all over Sessions’s ordering the resignations of the remaining Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys as if this is an unusual occurrence. It actually happens with every change in administration on the federal, state, and city level. The new administration cleans house, because they don’t want political appointees from the opposing party undermining their leadership.
In fact, back in 1993, when President Bill Clinton took office, Attorney General Janet Reno asked for the resignation of then U.S. attorney Jeff Sessions. That’s the way the process works and everyone who is a political appointee gets it. That’s why 47 U.S. attorneys had already left their positions. President Trump did ask two of the 93 attorneys to stay on, one of which is Dana Boente who briefly served as acting attorney general following President Trump’s firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates and before the confirmation of Sessions.
As for Bharara, his theatrics, while panned by most conservatives, received support in the Empire State from both the left and the right.
Senate Minority Leader New York Democrat Chuck Schumer said that he was “troubled” by the dismissal of Bharara and the other U.S. attorneys warning that their exit could “interrupt ongoing investigations.”
“Good for Preet,” tweeted Brian Kolb, the Republican leader of the New York State Assembly, upon learning Bharara had refused to resign. “He is doing the job he was appointed to do!”
Republican New York State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin described firing Bharara as “Definitely not a wise move at all,” in a tweet. “Also not hard to see that he’s [Bharara] been a fighter trying to #Draintheswamp.”
So now the new talking point is that President Donald Trump is a hypocrite because he dismissed a prosecutor who was “draining the swamp.” Again, this argument is a bastardization. Just because Bharara built his career on eradicating corruption, doesn’t mean that standard change of leadership practices don’t apply to him. After all, given that he was appointed by President Obama, there is a strong chance that he would be politically at loggerheads with the direction of the Trump administration.
The Preet Bharara brouhaha is yet another example of Donald Trump being scapegoated for exercising his presidential authority.
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