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 John TrumpDems win from coast to coast Falwell after Gillespie loss: 'DC should annex' Northern Virginia Dems see gains in Virginia's House of Delegates 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 SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsCurtis wins Chaffetz's former Utah House seat Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny FBI can’t unlock Texas shooter’s phone 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 Ann WarrenBipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program Schumer: Dems want DACA fix in government spending bill The Hill interview — DNC chief: I came here to win elections 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.