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Former U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara says Trump fired him after a series of 'uncomfortable' calls

 (Kathy Willens / Associated Press)
(Kathy Willens / Associated Press)

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney for Manhattan, told an interviewer Sunday that he was fired after a series of  “uncomfortable” telephone calls that made him feel that President Trump might be trying to compromise his independence as a federal prosecutor.

Trump, who was then president-elect, first telephoned in December, “ostensibly to shoot the breeze and asked me how I was doing and wanted to make sure I was OK," Bharara said on ABC's “This Week."  

“It appeared to be that he was trying to cultivate some kind of relationship."

Bharara had already met with Trump and had been asked to stay on as U.S. attorney, so he was surprised by the call, and by a similar one a few weeks later. When Trump telephoned a third time, after the inauguration, Bharara said he didn’t return the call. He was fired 22 hours later.

The experience had echoes of the testimony given last week by fired FBI Director James B. Comey about seemingly inappropriate conversations with Trump.

After reading the stories about how Trump kept contacting Comey, Bharara said it "felt a little bit like deja vu." 

"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."

Among other investigations handled by Bharara’s office at the Southern District of New York was an inquiry into stock trades by Tom Price, Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary, according to the nonprofit news outlet ProPublica.

Although the appearance on ABC was Bharara’s first interview since being fired in March, the former prosecutor has become a vocal critic of the president’s conduct on Twitter.

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