Trump tried to call NY attorney before firing him: report

Trump tried to call NY attorney before firing him: report
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President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: More people view NATO favorably EPA chief jabs California’s environment push David Letterman: ‘Makes me sick’ that Trump represents us MORE attempted to call former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara two days before firing him, but Bharara declined to take the call, according to a Sunday Reuters report.

After the president called, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York contacted the Justice Department to ask permission to speak to Trump, which he was denied, Reuters reported.

Bharara called back the woman trying to facilitate the call between him and Trump and said he would not take the call without the approval of the DOJ.

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The Justice Department oversees federal prosecutors and is currently led by Trump-appointed Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump admin pitches stricter rules on ‘sanctuary cities’: report DOJ asks judge to reassess after sanctuary city update: report Sessions postpones Senate testimony on DOJ funding MORE.

Bharara, along with 45 other Obama-appointed federal prosecutors, was asked to resign by the Justice Department on Friday. While that is not unusual, many were surprised to see Bharara’s name on the list, because Trump had previously said he’d keep him on.

Bharara refused to resign and ultimately was fired on Saturday.

Bharara oversaw the Southern District of New York, where he led investigations and prosecuted multiple notable cases ranging from corruption to terrorism to white-collar crime. 

Reuters reports that three watchdog groups asked Bharara to investigate whether the Trump Organization could or may be receiving benefits from foreign governments.

Norm Eisen leads one of the groups, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Eisen, who formerly served as a White House ethics lawyer, said he found the timing of the firings “odd.” 

"You don't decide to keep 46 folks on, then suddenly demand their immediate exit, without some precipitating cause or causes,” Eisen told Reuters.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren rips Trump’s proposed budget cuts to Social Security Republicans should stop Elizabeth Warren's effort to expand the regulatory state Why Congress needs to reform structured settlements MORE (D-Mass.), in a series of tweets Sunday morning, said that President Trump’s call to Bharara would be “breaching protocol.”

The Justice Department did not provide Reuters information about possible contact between Trump and the U.S. Attorney before Bharara was fired. The White House also had no comment for Reuters.