- Trump tried to 'thank him for his service and wish him good luck'
- Bharara declined to take call without approval of superiors
- Says was fired after he refused to resign, earlier said was asked to stay
But a US law enforcement official said Bharara declined to take the call, placed on Thursday, saying he did not want to talk to the president without the approval of his superiors.
Bharara said on Saturday he had been fired after he defied a request to resign. The move was a surprise because Bharara had told reporters in November that Trump had asked him to remain in the job.
As the chief federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan, Bharara oversaw several notable corruption and white-collar criminal cases, as well as prosecutions of terrorism suspects.
He was one of 46 Obama administration holdovers who were asked to resign by the Justice Department on Friday.
Although US attorneys are political appointees, and the request from Trump's Justice Department is part of a routine process, the move came as a surprise. Not every new administration replaces all US attorneys at once.
The White House declined to comment further on the resignations.
The office in the southern district of New York handles some of the most critical business and criminal cases that pass through the federal judicial system. Bharara had been overseeing a probe into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising.
Bharara said his deputy, Joon Kim, would serve as his temporary replacement.
The law enforcement source declined comment on whether the office had any active investigations related to Trump.
"I do believe that something odd happened," he said. "You don't decide to keep 46 folks on, then suddenly demand their immediate exit, without some precipitating cause or causes."
Democrat Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said on Sunday it was the president's prerogative to fire US attorneys. But he questioned why Trump had suddenly changed his mind on keeping Bharara.
"I'm just curious as to why that is," Cummings said on ABC's "This Week" program. "Certainly, there's a lot of questions coming up as to whether ... President Trump is concerned about the jurisdiction of this US attorney and whether that might affect his future."
Republican Senator John McCain said he did not know what promises Trump might have made to Bharara in terms of keeping him on, but he said the president was within his rights to seek the resignation of political appointees from a prior administration.
"I do know that other administrations have done the same thing, perhaps not in as abrupt a fashion," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union."
"Elections have consequences, so for people to complain about it they are ignoring the history of new presidencies and I think the president had every right to ask for their resignations," McCain said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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