US Attorney Preet Bharara Meets With Trump, Says He Asked Him To Stay On

Evan Vucci/AP

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told reporters on Wednesday that President-elect Donald Trump met with him to ask if Bharara would stay on in that role during his administration.

“The president-elect asked, presumably because he’s a New Yorker and is aware of the great work that our office has done over the past seven years, asked to meet with me to discuss whether or not I’d be prepared to stay on as the United States attorney to do the work as we have done it, independently, without fear or favor for the last seven years,” Bharara told reporters at Trump Tower, as quoted in a transition pool report.

He described it as a “good meeting” and said that he agreed to remain in office.

“I agreed to stay on,” Bharara said, as quoted in the pool report. “I have already spoken to Senator Sessions, who is as you know is the nominee to be the attorney general. He also asked that I stay on, and so I expect that I will be continuing to work at the southern district.”

Bharara has made white collar crime a main focus of his tenure since his 2009 appointment. He once described corruption in New York politics as “downright pervasive,” and said it felt like a scene from the movie “Groundhog Day” every time a New York politician was arrested.

He has also pursued corruption cases against several New York state politicians, including former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D), who was convicted last year of trading political favors for $4 million in kickbacks and bribes.

Bharara’s office has put other prominent elected officials on notice. The Silver investigation was rooted in the Moreland Commission, a panel New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) had established in 2013 to investigate public corruption and that he suddenly disbanded in March 2014. Cuomo hired a white-collar criminal defense lawyer to represent his office after Bharara threatened to investigate the cancellation of the panel, as reported by the New York Times.

He is also investigating the possibility that two men who raised money for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) traded political favors for an “unknown municipal benefit,” as the New York Times reported in April.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK