Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara: "There's absolutely evidence to begin a case" for obstruction of justice against Trump

On ABC's "This Week" Preet Bharara said it's certainly possible that the president obstructed justice


Charlie May
June 11, 2017 5:00PM (UTC)

In his first interview since being fired by President Donald Trump former U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara said "there's absolutely evidence to begin a case" for obstruction of justice against the president. Bharara also said that "to this day" he still has "no idea" why he was fired.

Featured on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Bharara argued "it's a big deal" that the president ordered other top officials to leave the room so he could talk to former FBI Director James Comey privately about an ongoing investigation. "I think there's absolutely evidence to begin a case. 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 of obstruction. It's also true I think from based on what I see as a third party and out of government that there's no basis to say there's no obstruction," Bharara told George Stephanopoulos.

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"The fact that you have authority to remove someone from office doesn't automatically immunize that act from criminal responsibility," he added.

During the Trump administration's transition into the White House, Bharara was invited by the president-elect to Trump Tower, where he was asked to stay on as U.S. attorney. Bharara received multipl phone calls both during and after Trump's inauguration which the former U.S. attorney argued is "unusual."

"The number of times that President Obama called me in seven-and-a-half years was zero. The number of types I would have been expected to be called by the president of the United States would be zero because there has to be some kind of arm's length relationship given the jurisdiction that various people had," Bharara explained to Stephanopoulos. While it may not be extraordinary behavior in the corporate world Bharara argued that "the Justice Department is different."

"He [Trump] called me again two days before the inauguration, again seemingly to check in and shoot the breeze and then he called me a third time when he -- after he became president and I refused to return the call," Bharara said.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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