President Donald Trump fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Saturday after the prosecutor refused to step down along with 45 other Obama holdovers who were asked by the Justice Department to resign.
Bharara has been a hero to those in New York who appreciated his tough stance on public corruption, especially in the New York State Legislature.
Democrats and Republicans blasted the firing on social media over the weekend.
Bharara issued the following statement:
“Today, I was fired from my position as U.S. atorney for the Southern District of New York. Serving my country as U.S. attorney here for the past seven years will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life, no matter what else I do or how long I live. One hallmark of justice is absolute independence, and that was my touchstone every day that I served. I want to thank the amazing people of the Southern District of New York, the greatest public servants in the world, for everything they do each day in pursuit of justice. They will continue to do the great work of the Office under the leadership of Joon H. Kim, the current deputy U.S. attorney, who will serve as acting U.S. attorney.”
In response to the firing, Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, released the following statement:
“The firing of Preet Bharara as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is a stark setback for the fight against corruption, particularly public corruption, in New York. He clearly and consistently stood up for a vision of what our democracy should and can be, setting the bar high for citizens and even higher for those privileged enough to serve them in public office. He has taken on seemingly impenetrable political corruption in pursuit of justice for New Yorkers, who deserve his continued leadership. As U.S. attorney, Bharara was consistently – and unusually – independent and apolitical, ready to investigate and prosecute corrupt public officials regardless of their positions of power or party affiliation. While presidents often replace U.S. attorneys, it is troubling that Bharara was dismissed one week after being asked publicly to look into violations of the Emoluments Clause by the president. This is a huge loss but to quote the man himself we will ‘stay tuned.'”