World America 13 Jun 2017 Preet Bharara says f ...

Preet Bharara says fired for refusing Trump’s call

Published Jun 13, 2017, 2:48 am IST
Updated Jun 13, 2017, 2:48 am IST
Says enough evidence to open case against President.
Preet Bharara (Photo: AP)
 Preet Bharara (Photo: AP)

Preet Bharara, the India-born former top US federal prosecutor, has revealed that he was sacked by President Donald Trump after receiving several unusual phone calls from him.

Mr Bharara told ABC News’ ‘This Week’ that he felt the calls from Mr Trump had crossed the usual boundary separating the executive branch and independent criminal investigators. Mr Bharara said he had been fired after refusing to take a third call.


“The number of times that President Obama called me in seven and a half years was zero,” he said.“The number of times I would have been expected to be called by the President of the United States would be zero because there has to be some kind of arm’s-length relationship given the jurisdiction that various people had.”

The former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan also said that there was enough evidence to begin an obstruction of justice case against Mr Trump over his alleged interference in the Russia probe.

He alleged that before firing him, Mr Trump had tried to cultivate relationship with him and that the pattern was similar to that of sacked FBI director James Comey.

Mr Bharara was one of the 45 attorneys who were asked to resign earlier this year by the Trump administration.“I think there’s absolutely evidence to begin a case (against Trump). I think it’s very important for all sorts of armchair speculators in the law to be clear that no one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction,” he told ABC News.

“It’s also true I think from based on what I see as a third party and out of government that there’s no basis to say there’s no obstruction,” he said in his first television interview after being fired.

His remarks come after Mr Comey testified on Thursday that Mr Trump asked him to drop an investigation involving former national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of the probe into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US polls.

Mr Bharara said, at this point, on whether or not the President has legal authority to fire or to direct an investigation, he does really get it.“It’s a little silly to me. The fact that you have authority to remove someone from office doesn’t automatically immunise that act from criminal responsibility,” the 48-year-old attorney argued.

Coming out in defence of Mr Comey, Mr Bharara said nothing in the memo or in the conversations that the sacked FBI chief had with his friend at Columbia Law School was classified.