US Attorney Preet Bharara Fired After Refusing Trump Request to Quit

"Whoever replaces Bharara will have to make decisions based on how they view the facts and that's going to be a tough spot because Bharara has advanced cases that are complex", Horner said.

The New York Times reported Friday that Bharara was among those asked to resign, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter.

"Today, I was sacked from my position as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life".

On Friday afternoon, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the 46 remaining us attorneys appointed by former President Barack Obama to resign.

By Friday night, many of of those asked for their resignations - including those in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Arkansas - had publicly announced their departure.

Bharara and the White House did not respond to requests for comment on Friday and Saturday. Sessions, who is, as you know, is the nominee to be the attorney general. Bharara let it be known that he had met with President Trump during the post-election transition period and had been told he would be staying on in his job. Just this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions assured him in a phone conversation that he'd remain atop the Southern District, according to the federal law enforcement official. The source also told the Daily Beast that Sessions told Bharara this week that he would remain in his position in a phone conversation this week.

Almost half of the remaining Obama-era US attorneys had already resigned before the Justice Department's announcement on Friday afternoon.

Experts say it is not uncommon for a new administration to appoint their picks for USA attorneys.

Though it is within his power to dismiss Bharara, doing so at this juncture contains political peril for Trump, to the extent that it suggests he's immunizing himself from potential investigations. Obama had asked Bob Gates, who was appointed by President George W Bush, to continue as his secretary of defense. Mr. Hannity portrayed them as "saboteurs" from the "deep state" who were leaking secrets to hurt Mr. Trump. Later in the day, Sean Hannity of Fox News called for the Justice Department to be swept of Obama holdovers.

"The way the Obama administration handled it was appropriate and respectful and classy", he said.

Bharara has not yet spoken with the press concerning the request to step down. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement Friday.

Preet Bharara (left), and US President Donald Trump (right). "This was done to protect the independence of our prosecutors and avoid disrupting ongoing federal cases". Clearly this is not the case.

A graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School, Bharara served as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan from 2000 to 2005, under former U.S. Attorney James Comey, now the FBI director. "That's why many of us have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor".

A Justice Department spokesman, Peter Carr, said Mr Trump has asked Rosenstein and Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, who has served as USA attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to stay on.