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Preet Bharara says his firing was due to the Trump administration's 'helter-skelter' incompetence

Jeremy Berke
Preet Bharara

(Preet Bharara.REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Preet Bharara, the former US attorney for the Southern District of New York, didn't mince words when asked about the circumstances of his firing. 

He told The New York Times on Thursday that his ouster was a "direct example of the kind of uncertain helter-skelter incompetence," when it comes to the Trump administration's personnel decisions.

Bharara was referring to what he says was the "out-of-the-blue" letter Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent in March demanding the resignations of 46 US attorneys appointed by Obama. 

Bharara, known as the "Sheriff of Wall Street" as his district covers many New York financial institutions, initially refused Sessions' request to step down. He was fired by Trump in March. 

Though it's common for US attorneys to vacate their positions when a new administration takes office, Bharara was personally asked to stay on as US attorney by Trump during a meeting in November.

Bharara told the Times that Trump had asked for his personal phone number following the meeting. The two men spoke over the phone a handful of times before Trump took office.

On March 9 — the day before the resignations were sent out — Trump tried to call Bharara, though Bharara didn't pick up the phone, citing ethical concerns.

"I do not think it is wise for a sitting president to try cultivating a personal telephonic relationship with a sitting U.S. attorney, especially one with a certain jurisdiction," Bharara told the Times. 

Bharara took a new job as a distinguished scholar-in-residence at New York University's law school on April 1. 

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