Attorney General Jeff Sessions caught everyone a bit off guard Friday night when he asked 46 U.S. attorneys (who were appointed by President Obama) to hand in their letters of resignation. Some aren’t happy about losing their jobs, including Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who indicated he wouldn’t be stepping down, according to CNN. Bharara’s refusal to hand in his resignation may result in a public standoff with President Donald Trump who could possibly fire him.
Bharara reportedly felt a bit blindsided by the request, as CNN wrote he was assured by Trump he would be sticking around. Bharara visited Trump in November at Trump Tower to discuss his job security. CNN noted the meeting was a request from Senator Chuck Schumer, as a way for Trump and the Democrats to work together. Trump honored the request, even reportedly telling Bharara to tell the press “I asked you to stay,” thus giving Bharara the belief his job would be safe.
But that promise seems to have been revoked with Sessions surprising Friday night request. Of the 93 U.S. attorneys who were appointed by Obama and confirmed by the Senate, 46 remain and Sessions is looking to clean house. Bharara challenging Sessions request presents an interesting situation for Trump, as the public standoff may result in Bharara being fired. Sessions asking the group of U.S. attorneys to step down may come as a surprise, as he has recused himself from spearheading any investigations involving Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. Sessions and Trump have yet to comment on Bharara’s decree.
Update: It appears a decision has been made concerning Bharara’s job, as he tweeted he has been fired as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York: