Bharara says Trump phone calls made him uncomfortable

Albin Lohr-Jones  SIPPL Sipa USA
Albin Lohr-Jones SIPPL Sipa USA
Author

12 June, 2017

"I think it's very important for all sorts of armchair speculators in the law to be clear that no one knows right now whether there is a provable case for obstruction", Bharara said. Shortly after James Comey's hearings, President Trump accused him of telling lies to the Senate Committee.

Former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara told George Stephanopoulos on Sunday's broadcast of This Week that, like fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, he was also the subject of unwelcome, one-on-one political advances from Donald Trump.

Bharara was USA attorney for the Southern District of NY until March when he and 45 other US attorneys remaining as holdovers from the Obama administration were told to step down.

Bahara, in an interview to ABC News said that "he felt the calls from Trump had crossed the usual boundary separating the executive branch and independent criminal investigators".

"He called me in December - ostensibly just to shoot the breeze - and asked me how I was doing and wanted to make sure I was O.K. It was a little bit uncomfortable, but he was not the president, he was only the president-elect", Preet Bharara said while describing his first contact with President Trump.

The action came after Trump had previously asked Bharara to stay on as US attorney, according to Bharara and those close to him.

He said there should be an arms-length relationship between the president and those that are in a position to investigate him.

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Bharara's comments came just a few days after former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey testified at a congressional panel that Trump had asked him to drop an investigation into former Trump aide Michael Flynn and his alleged ties to Russian Federation.

Bharara told Stephanopoulos that watching how James Comey's interactions with Trump and how his firing played out "felt a little bit like déjà vu". "Twenty-two hours later, I was sacked", Bharara said.

The third call came in March, he said.

Bharara said he refused to return a third call after Trump's inauguration.

"You've got someone who has a reputation for probity, someone who has a reputation for telling the truth, someone who has contemporaneous notes on what happened in these meetings and in these conversations", Bharara said about Comey.

"The number of times that President Obama called me in seven-and-a-half years was zero".


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