11 March 2017

This is What Happens After Elections

After refusing to resign, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara has been fired.

There will be a lot of hand wringing about this, and I am disappointed that this will likely slow the progress of the investigations of Andrew Cuomo and Roger Ailes, but this what happens when there are elections.

It's something that has been drilled into my head by my dad, who worked for in the cabinet of Bill Egan, Governor of Alaska, and when Wally Hickel took over he was offered the opportunity to stay on, he politely declined.

His judgement was reaffirmed when the Hickel administration fired one of his coworkers for getting a hunting license at the in-state rate a few months early.

This is what happens when someone new takes over, particularly when they are of the opposing party:
The call to Preet Bharara’s office from President Trump’s assistant came on Thursday. Would Mr. Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, please call back?

The following day, Mr. Bharara was one of 46 United States attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama asked to resign — and to immediately clean out their offices. The request took many in his office by surprise because, in a meeting in November, Mr. Bharara was asked by the then-president-elect to stay on.

Mr. Bharara refused to resign. On Saturday, he announced on Twitter that he had been fired.


Mr. Bharara was a highly public prosecutor who relished the spotlight throughout more than seven years in office. He pursued several high-profile cases involving Wall Street, and he was in the midst of investigating fund-raising by Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, and preparing to try former top aides to the governor of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, who are both Democrats. It was not immediately clear how his departure would affect those cases and others that were pending.

Mr. Bharara stayed quiet until Saturday afternoon. Then, on his personal Twitter account, which he set up eight days ago, he wrote: “I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired.” Referring to the Southern District of New York, he continued, “Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.”

Mr. Bharara’s job had appeared to be secure. In November, he met at Trump Tower with the president-elect and several of his advisers, including Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, according to two people briefed on that discussion who requested anonymity.

At the meeting, according to those briefed, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Bharara to remain in the job, which Mr. Bharara relayed to reporters and television cameras in the Trump Tower lobby.

Then came the order to resign on Friday, creating what was described as a feeling of whiplash in the prosecutor’s Manhattan office. One person familiar with the views of current prosecutors described an oddly subdued reaction mixed with anxiety as the events unfolded. “You have a sense of how it’s going to end, and it’s not going to end well,” the person said.

But Mr. Bharara, unlike his fellow United States attorneys, publicly refused to leave. He gave no statement citing a policy or legal issue affecting his decision to refuse the resignation order.


Mr. Bharara’s office is overseeing the case against the former aides to Mr. Cuomo and the inquiry into fund-raising by Mr. de Blasio, who has been a target of Mr. Trump’s ire as he has positioned himself as a vocal opponent of the president’s on the left.

His office is also overseeing an investigation into whether Fox News, which is owned by the media magnate Rupert Murdoch, failed to properly alert shareholders of settlements with female employees who had accused the channel’s former chief, Roger Ailes, of sexual harassment.
It's not how I would have liked this to turn out, but this is very much business as usual.


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