Speed Reads

Trump v Comey

Preet Bharara says as with Comey, Trump tried to 'cultivate' an uncomfortable, inappropriate relationship

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said on Sunday that he still does not know why President Trump fired him in March, after originally promising to keep him on as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, but that watching the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey last week "felt a little bit like deja vu." Bharara told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that after getting zero calls from former President Barack Obama in seven years, Trump met with him once and called him three times after the election, "ostensibly just to shoot the breeze," and the third time — after the inauguration, and two days before Trump fired him — Bharara said he did not return Trump's call, because it would have been inappropriate.

"I was in discussions with my own folks, and in reporting the phone call to the chief of staff to the attorney general, I said it appeared to be that he was trying to cultivate some kind of relationship," Bharara said. "I'm not the FBI director, but I was the chief federal law enforcement officer in Manhattan with jurisdiction over a lot of things including, you know, business interests and other things in New York."

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump's personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, called Bharara a "resistance Democrat" on Twitter and said that after refusing to take Trump's third call "he deserved to be fired." Bharara, who aggressively prosecuted Democratic politicians as much as or more than Republicans, tweeted back that the Justice Department agreed with his decision to not accept a direct phone call from the president. But as for being fired, "you know, it doesn't bother me," he told Stephanopoulos on Sunday. "I'm living a great good life, and very happily." You can watch the entire interview below. Peter Weber