During an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Rep. Elijah Cummings asserted that there may be a connection between the firing of former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and recent calls for investigations into U.S. President Donald Trump.
Cummings, current ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, did say that it is within the scope of executive power to fire U.S. attorneys. However, he went on to note that the President previously stated that he was willing to “keep the U.S. attorney there in New York” and “then suddenly, he’s, I guess, changed his mind.”
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He continued, expressing concern,
“I’m just curious as to why that is, and certainly there’s a lot of questions coming up as to whether … President Trump is concerned about the jurisdiction of this U.S. attorney and whether that might affect his future… You look at everything surrounding the investigations — there are a lot of questions that need to be asked, but again, the president does have that prerogative.”
Bharara was asked just this past week by watchdog groups to investigate President Trump’s foreign business deals. Specifically, these groups asked him to look into whether or not the President had received any benefits from foreign governments that would be in violation of the Emoluments Clause.
During the interview, Cummings explained,
“I think that, again, what has been happening is that there is an air of distrust that has been brought on by President Trump himself… So I think that in part, the president has created this situation for himself. But yeah, sure, no doubt about it, when they asked about the Emoluments Clause and possible violations of it and the U.S. attorney’s relationship to that, I think that had perhaps something to do with.”
After being pressed as to whether he believes that there may be a connection between Bharara’s firing and investigations into Trump, Cummings concisely stated, “There very well may be.”
The U.S. attorney was fired after he failed to resign at the request of the Trump administration.