03:07 GMT +315 December 2019
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    Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, attends a news conference on Las Vegas sports bettor William Billy Walters and Dean Food's former chairman Thomas Davis, both charged with insider trading, in New York City, U.S. May 19, 2016

    Dismissal of US Attorney Bharara Linked to Trump Investigations?

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    Rep. Elijah Cummings has suggested that there may be a connection between the firing of former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and the new administration’s concerns that he would be handling the Trump investigations.

    During his appearance on ABC's "This Week", Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said he found it suspicious how in November President Donald Trump summoned Bharara to Trump Tower to discuss his future in the new administration and then suddenly altered his mind.

    "I'm just curious as to why that is, and certainly there's a lot of questions coming up as to whether … President Trump is concerned about the jurisdiction of this US attorney and whether that might affect his future," he said, noting, however, that the president does have every right within his power to dismiss US attorneys.

    "You look at everything surrounding the investigations — there are a lot of questions that need to be asked, but again, the president does have that prerogative."

    On Friday, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, the Attorney General, demanded that all 46 US Attorneys nominated by Obama resign by the end of the day. On the next day Bharara said in a tweet that he was fired after he refused to submit his resignation.

    “I did not resign,” he wrote. “Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney … will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.”

    Several days earlier Bharara had received a letter from three different watchdog groups urging him to look into whether the president had violated the Emoluments Clause by receiving benefits from foreign governments through his extensive business holdings.

    Cummings said that the letter and the potential corruption investigation 'very well may' be connected to Bharara's termination.

    "I think that, again, what has been happening is that there is an air of distrust that has been brought on by President Trump himself," he added.

    Cummings criticized the current environment in the White House and said that the president should devote more time to “leading” and not “tweeting.”


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