Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose jurisdiction included Trump Tower. (Photo: Getty)

Why Was US Attorney Preet Bharara Fired? Dem Senators Seek Answers

Former New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was at the 'nexus of multiple Trump scandals,' Rachel Maddow noted Tuesday evening

Deirdre Fulton

Three Democratic senators have written to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding to know the circumstances surrounding the firing of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, noting that he was reportedly investigating one member of President Donald Trump's cabinet—and potentially the president himself—when he was dismissed earlier this month.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), and Richard Blumenthal (N.J.) signed the letter sent Tuesday, asking bluntly: "Why was Mr. Bharara fired?"

As Common Dreams reported, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York was among the 46 U.S. attorneys who were abruptly asked to resign on Friday, March 10—despite Bharara having being told by Trump during the transition that he would be able to keep his job. When Bharara refused to comply with the Trump administration's request, he was fired, leading Warren to warn the president, "You can't fire the rule of law."

As many pointed out at the time, Bharara's jurisdiction included Trump Tower, and he had been asked just that week by watchdog groups to probe potential violations by Trump of the Constitution's emoluments clause. What's more, Bloomberg noted, he "was involved in a number of sensitive investigations including one involving Deutsche Bank AG, the largest known lender to Trump's businesses, and one of 21st Century Fox Inc., the media conglomerate that is [Sean] Hannity's employer." (Some suggested the attorney purge came at Hannity's suggestion.)

Meanwhile, a ProPublica investigation earlier this month revealed that Bharara was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price—trades that became a matter of contention during Price's confirmation hearing

The senators cited that ProPublica reporting in their letter to Sessions, saying they "have questions about whether such an investigation had any impact on President Trump's decision to fire Mr. Bharara."

Bharara hinted at such a motivation following his firing, as ProPublica wrote Tuesday:

After his dismissal, Bharara fanned suspicions that the move was politically motivated via his personal Twitter account.

"Now I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like," he wrote, referring to a commission that was launched by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo only to be shut down by the governor after its work grew close to his office.

The letter goes on to ask, "Was Mr. Bharara conducting any other investigation of President Trump, his family, or other administration officials at the time he was fired?" And then, the senators inquire:

  • If so, what was the nature of these investigations?
  • If so, were you aware of this investigation at the time Mr. Bharara was fired?
  • Was President Trump aware of these investigations at the time Mr. Bharara was fired?
  • Which other White House or DOJ officials were aware of these investigations at the time Mr. Bharara was fired?

The senators ask for Sessions to respond by Monday, April 3.

Rachel Maddow also tackled the topic on Tuesday night's show, saying Bharara was at the "nexus of multiple Trump scandals":

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·

NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo