By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders
If I were Donald Trump, I would have fired Preet Bharara too.
For the past eight years, Mr. Bharara has been the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Appointed by President Obama, he has been a relentless prosecutor of official government corruption. And he has been an equal opportunity crime fighter against both Republicans and Democrats, bringing down some of the most powerful state legislators.
Before his dismissal last weekend, he was in the midst of cases against several of Governor Cuomo’s most trusted advisors who are now under criminal indictment for bribery, bid rigging and other charges. Bharara was also investigating Mayor de Blasio and his administration for political fundraising violations and steering lucrative contracts in exchange of big donations to the de Blasio campaign. The mayor is using public funds to employ expensive defense lawyers in the hopes of avoiding indictment.
Reportedly, days after Mr. Trump’s election victory in November, he personally asked Bharara to remain on the job. Of course, those were the days when Trump was still talking about “draining the swamp” of political corruption in our nation’s capital and elsewhere. But that was before he hired some of the most powerful corporate and politically connected heavyweights to comprise his cabinet.
And even more importantly that was before the persistent revelations and rumors about Trump campaign connections with operatives of the Russian government, some of whom were plotting undermine our national election and tilt the outcome towards Mr. Trump. At least that is what our combined national intelligence agencies concluded.
So as the questions about Trump and his campaign’s involvement in a foreign government’s efforts to subvert the Presidential election process swirls about, the last thing that Donald Trump needs is an independent, fearless and non-partisan federal prosecutor with legal jurisdiction possibly snooping about his business and political activities.
Say what you may about Donald Trump; he is not stupid. But unlike the famous firing of General Douglas McArthur by President Truman, Preet Bharara will surely not just fade away.