In following with previous administrations, and to hasten efforts to purge former President Obama loyalists, the Trump administration announced the resignations of 45 U.S. attorneys over the weekend. But one lawyer, Preet Bharara, out of New York's Southern District, who was investigating Fox News for rampant sexual harassment claims, refused to quit, forcing President Trump to fire him.
Fox News is already trying to spin the dismissal. On Monday the three hosts of "Fox and Friends" wondered if Bharara was investigating the president, ignoring the prosecutor's investigation into their own employer. Ainsley Earhardt said that firing Bharara would be appropriate if he was indeed leading a probe into Trump.
"If you work for a company, and you find out someone's investigating you within your company, you are out of the door, buddy. I'm sorry. You got to be loyal," she said, although it's unclear what role Fox News plays in this metaphor. "You got to be a family member. You got to be a team player."
On Sunday New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reported that Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of Fox News, is poised to benefit from the network's favorable coverage of Trump. Sources told Sherman that Bharara was in the middle of a high-profile federal investigation of Fox News. The probe was looking at a number of potential crimes, including mail and wire fraud for hiding financial settlements paid to woman who alleged sexual harassment.
Bharara's firing has led many to speculate that Trump was trying to aid his longtime friend and adviser, Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News, who was a main subject in the investigation.
An anonymous White House aide told The Wall Street Journal that Trump and his team appear to be "unhappy" with Bharara's handling of his dismissal.
"As much as Preet wants everything to be about Preet, everyone was treated the same way," the aide said.
Bharara, in response to the White House's remarks, said, "It was my understanding that the president himself has said anonymous sources are not to be believed."