Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's refusal to step down after a call for his resignation set up a public battle with President Donald Trump, who abruptly fired Wall Street's top enforcer on Saturday, months after asking him to remain in the post.
Bharara said in a tweet on Saturday "I did not resign. Moments ago I was sacked", Bharara tweeted Saturday afternoon.
Then on Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that under the Trump administration, all 46 of those remaining would be required to hand up their letters of resignation.
Numerous federal prosecutors nominated by Obama have already left their positions, but the almost four dozen who stayed on in the first weeks of the Trump administration have been asked to leave "in order to ensure a uniform transition", Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.
Bharara and 45 other attorneys appointed by President Obama were ordered to resign by the Department of Justice on Friday, but Bharara has reportedly refused.
Oklahoma Northern District U.S. Attorney Danny Williams Sr., through a spokeswoman, declined to comment, saying he had not received official notification about the resignation request.More news: S.Korea braces for impeachment unrest
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Bharara's office was in the middle of an investigation into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's political fundraising efforts in 2013 and 2014 as well as whether Fox News attempted to pay off employees who made allegations of sexual assault from its investors.
In frequent public appearances, he has decried public corruption after successfully prosecuting over a dozen state lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike.
Even though Bharara could be reappointed, his inclusion in the list of all the other Obama appointees came as a surprise because after a meeting with Trump in November he told reporters that he had been asked to stay on as federal prosecutor or United States district attorney.
Tim Purdon, a former USA attorney for North Dakota in the Obama administration, recalled Friday that President Barack Obama permitted Bush appointees to remain on until their successors had been appointed and confirmed, the Associated Press reported.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney James Tierney will serve as acting U.S. Attorney until President Trump makes a nomination and that person is confirmed by the Senate.
"The way the Obama administration handled it was appropriate and respectful and classy", he said. "What happened today on Friday, March 10, that was so important that all Obama appointees who are USA attorneys need to be gone?"