Ten days into his tenure as United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara saw his political and prosecutorial worlds collide.
He convened a meeting to discuss a sensitive investigation of a Democratic donor with ties to Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. Mr. Bharara had been Mr. Schumer’s chief counsel, and Mr. Schumer had recommended Mr. Bharara for the prosecutorial post.
At the meeting, Mr. Bharara asked his prosecutors if there was enough evidence to make a case against the donor, Hassan Nemazee. One of the prosecutors, Daniel W. Levy, who is now in private practice, would recall years later that he had told Mr. Bharara that there had been a wide-reaching bank fraud.
“Then take him,” Mr. Bharara said.
That case — one of his very first as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan — foreshadowed a theme that Mr. Bharara harped on throughout his tenure pursuing a host of public corruption, terrorism, civil rights and Wall Street cases: Politics and prosecution do not mix.
Yet now, more than seven years after taking office, Mr. Bharara, 48, finds himself on what appears to be the losing end of a quintessential political decision.
On Saturday, the Trump administration fired him after he refused to follow a Justice Department order to resign immediately. The order, which was issued on Friday and also applied to 45 other holdover United States attorneys who served under the Obama administration, came only a few months after Donald J. Trump, then the president-elect, had asked Mr. Bharara to stay in the job.
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