Attorney General Jeff Sessions has finally gotten around to asking for the resignations of the remaining Obama-era 46 United States Attorneys. 45 complied without unnecessary drama. One, #Preet Bharara refused the order, forcing President Trump to fire him, an event that he noted on his Twitter feed. Democrats, characteristically, reacted with unmitigated fury.
Bharara’s grandstanding is seen by many as a prelude to a run for political office, either as Mayor of New York City in 2017 or governor of New York State in 2018. He has denied he has any ambitions for elected office. Hardly anyone believes him.
The anger that Democrats are expressing is the kind of thing that causes people who are paying attention to roll their eyes. Every incoming administration gets rid of most of not all of the previous person’s U.S. Attorneys to make way for their picks. Janet Reno, President Bill Clinton’s Attorney General, did so without comment. When George W. Bush cleared out the United States Attorneys, Democrats reacted with fake outrage as well. Indeed, everything Trump does these days is a scandal, an outrage, or both.
Bharara’s record is a mixed bag. In some quarters he has a reputation of not playing favorites, going after malefactors of both parties with equal zeal. However, Bharara’s assault on Reason Magazine is seen by many as overreach and an attack on the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The case in question concerned a subpoena of the records of a number of people who left comments on Reason’s website of a threatening nature or that were in bad taste. Bharara also got a district court to issue a gag order against the magazine compelling it not to comment on the case, in effect telling a media outlet what it could or could not publish. The case also involved the investigation of people who were exercising their right of free speech on social media, albeit in a heated, hyperbolic manner.
Bharara will now cast himself as a hero who defied #President Trump, a stance that will likely serve him well in deep blue New York. His record of assaults on the First Amendment suggests that he does not need to be in any public office, elected or not.