ABC News(NEW YORK) — Former New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said there’s “absolutely evidence” to begin a case for obstruction of justice against President Donald Trump.
The former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York was responding to a question from ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on This Week Sunday.
Stephanopoulos asked whether, as a former prosecutor, Bharara believes there is enough evidence for a case claiming that Trump tried to obstruct the FBI investigation of the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
“There is absolutely evidence to begin a case” for obstruction of justice by Trump, Bharara said in his first television interview since being fired by Trump in March.
“No one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction,” Bharara said, adding “There’s no basis to say there’s no obstruction.”
Bharara was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York until March when he and 45 other U.S. attorneys remaining as holdovers from the Obama administration were told to step down.
The action came after Trump had previously asked Bharara to stay on as U.S. attorney, according to Bharara and those close to him. “I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired,” Bharara announced in a tweet on March 11.
Bharara is a friend and former colleague of James Comey, the FBI director fired by Trump in May. He attended the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday when Comey testified about conversations he had with the president about the FBI’s overall Russia investigation and its probe into Flynn.
Bharara told Stephanopoulos that watching how James Comey’s interactions with Trump and how his firing played out “felt a little bit like déjà vu.”
Bharara said Trump, starting when he was still president-elect, made a series of “unusual” phone calls to him.
“In reporting the phone call to the chief of staff to the attorney general, I said it appeared to be that he was trying to cultivate some kind of relationship,” Bharara said. “It’s a very weird and peculiar thing for a one-on-one conversation without the attorney general, without warning between the president and me or any United States attorney who has been asked to investigate various things and is in a position hypothetically to investigate business interests and associates of the president.”
After Trump took office, Bharara refused to take one of Trump’s calls.
“The call came in. I got a message. We deliberated over it, thought it was inappropriate to return the call. And 22 hours later I was asked to resign along with 45 other people,” Bharara said.
“To this day I have no idea why I was fired,” Bharara added later.
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.