Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was reportedly investigating health secretary Tom Price at the time that he was asked to resign along with 45 other U.S. attorneys.
Price came under fire during his senate confirmation hearings over investments that he made while serving in Congress. At the time, Price traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in companies associated with the health industry as he continued to vote on and sponsor legislation pertaining to that industry. Price testified at the time that his trades were both lawful and transparent, according to ProPublica.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York was actively investigating Price’s trades at the time of Bharara’s dismissal from his position, as one of 46 U.S. attorneys that were asked to resign once Trump took office.
The practice of asking U.S. attorneys to resign is not new. In fact, it is standard for new presidents to replace officials affiliated with the former administration with their own. However, Bharara’s firing came as a shock to many because he had met with the President shortly after the November election. At the time, Bharara told reports that the then-President-elect had asked if he was prepared to remain in his position and that he had agreed to do so.
Bharara initially refused when the Trump administration asked for his resignation and, as a result, was later fired. It is unclear why Trump had a change of heart, though Bharara seems to believe it may be politically motivated — as he hinted in a series of tweets.
I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) March 11, 2017
By the way, now I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like.
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) March 12, 2017
As the Wall Street Journal reported in December, HHS secretary Price traded over $300,000 worth of shares in health companies over a four-year period. Price had also chaired the House Budget Committee and sat on the Ways and Means Committee’s health panel.
Read more about the investigation from ProPublica here.