Preet Bharara Calls for Independent Probe of Trump’s Russia Ties

Preet Bharara, the Indian American prosecutor who was fired by the Trump administration in March, has called for the appointment of an independent counsel to lead the investigation into allegations that Russia tampered with the 2016 presidential election, the media reported.

The former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Bharara, in an op-ed published May 14 in the Washington Post, said the move would be “common sense,” especially given last week’s dismissal of former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey.

Comey was heading the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s alleged links with Trump’s presidential win. “Jim Comey was once my boss and remains my friend. I know that many people are mad at him. He has at different times become a cause for people’s frustration and anger on both sides of the aisle. Some of those people may have a point… I am proud to know a man who had the courage to say no to a president,” Bharara wrote. “And in the tumult of this time, many should be asking, Are there still public servants who are prepared to say no to the president?” he wrote.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority leader, called for a special prosecutor in the investigation of ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, after the president fired FBI Director James Comey. “I have said from the get-go that I think a special prosecutor is the way to go, but now with what’s happened it is the only way to go,” Schumer told reporters on Tuesday.

The FBI had been investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election as well as any possible links to the Trump campaign, as part of its counterintelligence mission.

Schumer called on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor in the Russia probe. “Mr. Rosenstein, America depends on you to restore faith in our criminal justice system, which is going to be badly shattered after the administration’s actions today,” Schumer said.

Bharara said a special prosecutor must be “independent and uncompromised” and that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is now overseeing the Russia investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from it, must appoint one. “Given the manner of Comey’s firing and the pretextual reasons proffered for it, there is no other way,” he wrote. “History will judge this moment,” Bharara said. “It’s not too late to get it right, and justice demands it.”

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