Sessions requests resignations of 46 US attorneys; Preet Bharara fired after refusing to step down

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Updated: Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday requested the immediate resignations of all remaining U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama who have not already left office. Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Saturday he was fired after refusing to resign.

“Today, I was fired from my position as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York,” Bharara said in a press release. Reuters reported Saturday that the Justice Department confirmed Bharara was no longer on the job.

Reuters reported Friday that the move was huge surprise for Bharara, whose district which handles some of the highest-profile cases in the country. Bharara met with Trump at Trump Tower on Nov. 30, and after that meeting told reporters he would stay on, Reuters said.

Reuters and the New York Times reported Friday that Sessions had asked the 46 remaining federal prosecutors to vacate their positions “in order to ensure a uniform transition.”

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told the New York Times that deputy U.S. attorneys, who are career officials, are now in acting capacity until U.S. attorney nominees are confirmed by the Senate.

According to CNN, even though U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president and prior residents have removed federal prosecutors en masse, the move from Sessions caught many off-guard. “There was not any particular clarity from the Justice Department as to what the future held for the U.S. attorneys,” one source told CNN.

Updated March 11 to note Bharara’s firing.




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