NEW YORK — The U.S. attorney in Manhattan was not commenting Friday after he was included on a list of prosecutors asked to submit resignation letters as Attorney General Jeff Sessions clears space for prosecutors that can be appointed by President Donald Trump.
It was not immediately clear if Preet Bharara, the top prosecutor in Manhattan, must resign. He met in November with Trump and was asked to stay on after Trump called New York Sen. Charles Schumer and told him he wanted to keep Bharara in the post.
In a statement late Friday, Schumer said he was “troubled to learn of reports of requests for resignations from the remaining U.S. attorneys, particularly that of Preet Bharara.”
“While it’s true that presidents from both parties made their own choices for U.S. attorney positions across the country, they have always done so in an orderly fashion that doesn’t put ongoing investigations at risk. They ask for letters of resignation but the attorneys are allowed to stay on the job until their successor is confirmed,” the senator said.
Schumer said that by requesting immediate resignations, Trump was “interrupting ongoing cases and investigations and hindering the administration of justice.”
The request for resignations came just days after Trump last weekend claimed that Obama tapped his telephones during last year’s election. FBI Director James Comey privately asked the Justice Department to dispute the claim because he believed the allegations were false. Bharara worked for Comey when he was U.S. attorney in Manhattan under President George W. Bush.
Bharara has made public corruption and insider trading an emphasis since President Barack Obama appointed him midway through 2009.
With a quick wit and a steady stream of public appearances, Bharara has been one of the more charismatic prosecutors to lead one of the busiest offices of federal prosecutors in the country.
The prosecutor was once lauded on the cover of Time magazine as the man who is “busting Wall Street.” More recently, he’s successfully prosecuted over a dozen state officeholders from both political parties.