Preet Bharara

Bharara Was Investigating Price Stock Trades

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, ProPublica reports.

“Tom Price, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, came under scrutiny during his confirmation hearings for investments he made while serving in Congress. The Georgia lawmaker traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in health-related companies, even as he voted on and sponsored legislation affecting the industry.”

White House Unhappy with Bharara’s Attitude

The Wall Street Journal references an anonymous aide in a story claiming the White House “appears to be unhappy” with Preet Bharara’s handling of his dismissal as U.S. Attorney.

In reference to Mr. Bharara’s ouster, the White House aide said: “The U.S. attorneys are political appointees, and all 46 of the holdovers from the Obama administration received the same resignation letter. It’s fair to say that 45 of the 46 behaved in a manner befitting the office.”

The aide added: “As much as Preet wants everything to be about Preet, everyone was treated the same way.”

Mr. Bharara, in response to the White House’s comments, said: “It was my understanding that the president himself has said anonymous sources are not to be believed.”

Why Preet Bharara Had to Go

Mike Allen: “There’s a school of thought that the whole purge was about Preet in the first place: He’s a maverick, his Southern District of New York is powerful, U.S. attorneys have significant independence, and he has jurisdiction over Trump Tower. And he recently launched a personal Twitter feed.”

“If Preet ever flexed his muscles to undermine Trump, he’d be hard to stop. Better to ax him when you can.”

Trump Tried to Call Bharara Before Dismissal

New York Times: “The call to Preet Bharara’s office from President Trump’s assistant came on Thursday. Would Mr. Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, please call back?”

“It was unclear whether the president’s call on Thursday was an effort to explain his change of heart about keeping Mr. Bharara or to discuss another matter. The White House would not comment on Saturday.

However, there are protocols governing a president’s direct contact with federal prosecutors. According to two people with knowledge of the events who were not authorized to discuss delicate conversations publicly, Mr. Bharara notified an adviser to the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, that the president had tried to contact him and that he would not respond because of those protocols.”

Mike Allen: How Preet’s firing went down.

Bharara Refuses Order to Step Down

“Preet Bharara, the Manhattan federal prosecutor who was told to submit his resignation along with 45 others on Friday, has no plans to do so — forcing a potential showdown with President Trump and the Department of Justice,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Bharara was asked by Mr. Trump to remain in his current post in a meeting in late November, a few weeks after the presidential election. Mr. Bharara met with Mr. Trump at Trump Tower, and then addressed reporters afterward, saying that he had been asked to remain and had given the president his promise to do so. But Mr. Bharara was one of the 46 holdovers from the Obama administration who abruptly received a call on Friday telling him to vacate.”

Three Men in a Room

One day after the arrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D), U.S. attorney Preet Bharara criticized Albany’s political culture, Capital New York reports.

Said Bharara: “There are by my count 213 men and women in the state legislature, and yet it is common knowledge that only three men essentially wield all the power. I must confess a little bit of confusion about this: When did this come to pass? Why has everyone just come to accept it?”

Top Prosecutor Puts New York Politicians on Notice

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that New York Speaker Sheldon Silver’s (D) arrest is likely the first of many, Business Insider reports.

Said Bharara: “These charges in our view go to the very core of what ails Albany: lack of transparency, lack of accountability, and lack of principle — joined with overabundance of greed, cronyism, and self-dealing. But we will keep at it. As our unfinished fight against public corruption continues, you should stay tuned.”

He added: “You can expect more cases to come, because there is a lot more corruption that has not yet been brought to light.”