The Latest: Trump tried to call prosecutor before firing

AP News
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Posted: Mar 11, 2017 11:59 PM
The Latest: Trump tried to call prosecutor before firing

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the firing of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump reached out through a secretary to Manhattan's top prosecutor two days before he was fired by the Justice Department, but the two men never spoke.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (buh-RAH'-ruh) reported the call to the Justice Department and it was agreed he shouldn't speak directly to Trump. That's the latest twist in the unusual dynamic between Trump and the high-profile prosecutor who's made public corruption a favorite quest.

The interaction was described Saturday by a person told about the conversations who requested anonymity because of the talks' private nature. The White House referred comment requests to the Justice Department.

Bharara was fired Saturday after refusing to quit. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Friday asked for over 40 prosecutors who served under former President Barack Obama to step down.

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7 p.m.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the House Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, wants a summary of probes linked to President Donald Trump in light of the dismissal of dozens of federal prosecutors. Conyers says in a release that Saturday's firing of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (buh-RAH'-ruh) is a particular problem.

He says Bharara could be reviewing a range of potential improper activity involving Trump Tower and the campaign of President Donald Trump.

Conyers notes that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who sought the resignations Friday, has been at the center of his own scandal. Sessions' confirmation hearing testimony has been criticized as inaccurate.

Conyers says he wants the Justice Department to reveal to the judiciary committee all probes touching on the Trump administration, transition, campaign and organization.

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6 p.m.

New York's attorney general says the sudden dismissal of dozens of U.S. attorneys nationwide has caused chaos.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman praised fired Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (buh-RAH'-ruh) while decrying the manner in which over 40 of 93 federal prosecutors were dismissed. Bharara announced he was fired after refusing a request to resign Friday.

Two lawyers said the dismissals were not unusual for a new president. Annemarie McAvoy, a former Brooklyn federal prosecutor, says it's not surprising President Donald Trump might want Bharara gone since there's a good chance any subpoena seeking information about Trump campaign links to Russians would go through his office. Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor, says a purge of prosecutors is within Trump's rights.

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This item has been corrected to show there are 93 U.S. attorneys rather than 96.

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5 p.m.

A now-fired U.S. attorney says "absolute independence" was his touchstone for over seven years as Manhattan's top prosecutor.

Preet Bharara (buh-RAH'-ruh) made the comment in a statement Saturday two hours after he was fired after refusing to resign a day earlier. Bharara was asked by then-President-Elect President Donald Trump to remain as U.S. attorney in Manhattan during a November meeting. The Justice Department confirmed Bharara was no longer U.S. attorney but declined further comment.

The 48-year-old Bharara must leave the post after unveiling dozens of insider trading cases and successfully prosecuting over a dozen state lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike.

He became U.S. attorney midway through 2009 after his appointment by former President Barack Obama.

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3 p.m.

An outspoken Manhattan federal prosecutor known for crusading against public corruption says he was fired after refusing to resign.

Preet Bharara (buh-RAH'-ruh) announced in a tweet Saturday afternoon that he was fired.

He said: "I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired." He went on to say in the tweet that being the US Attorney in the Southern District of New York will "forever be the greatest honor of my professional life."

The 48-year-old Bharara was asked by then-President-elect President Donald Trump to remain as U.S. attorney in Manhattan during a November meeting at Trump Tower.

Bharara was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2009. In frequent public appearances, Bharara has decried public corruption after successfully prosecuting over a dozen state lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike.

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1:30 p.m.

An outspoken Manhattan federal prosecutor known for crusading against public corruption is taking President Donald Trump up on his word that he can remain in his post.

A person with knowledge of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's (buh-RAH'-ruh's) actions said Saturday he is not complying with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' request to resign along with other prosecutors appointed by former President Barack Obama.

The person said Bharara is remaining in his post after receiving assurances last year from Trump and Sessions that they wanted him to stay on. The person wasn't authorized to comment publicly on the matter and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Spokespeople for Bharara's office declined comment after word Friday that Bharara's name was included on Sessions' list.

The Justice Department declined comment Saturday.