New York, Apr 7: India-born former top federal prosecutor Preet Bharara has termed his firing by President Donald Trump as "deliberate", saying he does not "begrudge" the decision but wants the "record to be clear."
Bharara made his first public appearance yesterday since being unceremoniously removed by Trump last month as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Delivering The John Jay Iselin Memorial Lecture at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art here, Bharara spoke for over an hour to a packed hall, opening up about why he thought he was fired, taking a swipe at Trump's penchant
for firing people as evident in the real estate tycoon's TV show 'The Apprentice.'
When asked at the end of the lecture why he was fired, Bharara replied "Beats the hell out of me."
He recalled the meeting held with much "fanfare" between him and then president-elect Trump in the Trump Towers in Manhattan shortly after the presidential elections. He said Trump had then "explicitly" asked him to stay on for another term and that Bharara should tell everyone that Trump wanted him to continue in his position.
"Then there was this decision to let everyone go, which I don't begrudge anyone but I have been around the block a few times. Part of the reason I said I was not going to resign and be fired was because I want the record to reflect for all time
that there was a deliberate decision, not just a bureaucratic sweeping away of what had been there in the past, but a specific decision to change one's mind and deliberately fire me, particularly given what my office's jurisdiction is and where my office is situated.
"I am not making any accusation about anyone but I have lived long enough to know that you want the record to be clear," the 48-year-old said.