Nation

Fired US attorney was investigating Trump cabinet member, report says

FILE- In this Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara speaks during a news conference in New York. On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, two days before Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave dozens of the country's top federal prosecutors just hours to resign and clean out their desks, Sessions gave those political appointees a pep talk during a conference call. Bharara said on Saturday, March 11, 2017, that he was fired after refusing to resign. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Kathy Willens/Associated Press/File 2015

Former US attorney Preet Bharara spoke at a news conference in in 2015.

A former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York was leading an investigation into the US secretary of Health and Human Services when he was fired last week by the Trump administration, according to a new report from the investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica.

Preet Bharara, who said he was asked to resign but refused, and was then fired, was in the middle of a probe into stock trades made by Tom Price, according to the report. Price, a Georgia Republican and Trump appointee, was scrutinized for investments he made as a congressman when he came before the Senate last month.

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Democrats charged that Price had displayed poor judgment when he traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares of pharmaceutical and medical companies while serving in Congress and crafting health policy, potentially to his own financial gain.

Price said his trades were legal and transparent.

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The Trump administration asked Bharara and 45 other US attorneys to resign last week, despite having said after his election victory in November that he wanted Bharara to remain, according to Bharara.

Bharara suggested on Twitter that his firing was politically motivated.

Read ProPublica’s full report here.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.
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