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Preet Bharara, ousted federal prosecutor, will join CNN

  • CNN has signed U.S. attorney Preet Bharara as a senior legal analyst, the network said on Wednesday.
  • Bharara has been a strong critic of President Donald Trump.
  • Bharara was ousted from his job by the Trump administration in March.
Preet Bharara
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Preet Bharara

Preet Bharara, the former United States attorney in Manhattan, has been far from silent since being ousted from his job in March. He is writing a book, regularly muses on politics and legal matters to his 438,000 followers on Twitter, and just started a podcast. (First episode: "That Time President Trump Fired Me.")

Now the media-savvy former federal prosecutor is leaping into a new realm: cable news.

CNN has signed Mr. Bharara as a senior legal analyst, meaning he will be a frequent presence on the network's programming, the network said on Wednesday.

Read more from The New York Times:
Next Stop for Preet Bharara, Fired Prosecutor? His Brother's Media Firm
Preet Bharara Says Trump Tried to Build Relationship With Him Before Firing
Preet Bharara Links Firing to Trump Team's 'Helter-Skelter Incompetence'

The arrangement allows Mr. Bharara — already a fixture in political and media circles in New York — to expand his audience into millions of living rooms. And CNN will offer a national forum for Mr. Bharara's at-times blistering critiques of the Trump administration on a network that — the president's criticism of it notwithstanding — is regarded as less partisan than cable competitors like Fox News and MSNBC.

Rumors that Mr. Bharara may be considering a political career have also persisted, and his decision to take a role at CNN is likely to reignite speculation about his plans.

He is not the only Trump critic whom CNN is adding to its lineup: Walter M. Shaub Jr., who resigned as director of the Office of Government Ethics in July and has called the Trump administration's approach to ethics "close to a laughingstock," is also joining as a contributor, the network said. The appointments were first reported by Politico.

Mr. Bharara is no stranger to television, and his appearances in recent months seemed intended to showcase his versatility on the air. In June, he sat with George Stephanopoulos to offer a sober assessment of the Trump administration for ABC's Sunday morning show "This Week." Later in the month, he appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" for an extended segment with the show's wisecracking correspondent Hasan Minhaj.

His new role at CNN adds to Mr. Bharara's growing and diverse portfolio of postprosecutorial responsibilities. He is a distinguished scholar in residence at the New York University School of Law and an executive vice president at Some Spider Studios, a media company run by his brother that publishes Cafe, a news and entertainment website.

His podcast, "Stay Tuned," debuted on Wednesday afternoon, and its first episode had Mr. Bharara detailing his firing by Mr. Trump. Mr. Bharara said he had been unnerved by Mr. Trump's request, during their initial meeting in December, that he write down his telephone numbers, given that, "as a general matter, presidents don't speak to U.S. attorneys."

Mr. Trump did indeed call Mr. Bharara on multiple occasions — the last time leaving a voice mail message that was never returned because of Mr. Bharara's concerns about the appearance of impropriety. He was fired shortly thereafter, one of dozens of United States attorneys let go by the Trump administration.

On the podcast, Mr. Bharara said that given what he now knew about Mr. Trump, he would not have been long for his job even if he had not been fired.

"It's my strong belief that at some point, given the history, the president of the United States would have asked me to do something inappropriate," Mr. Bharara said. "And I would have resigned then."

Mr. Bharara appeared excited about his new pursuits. On Wednesday night, he wrote on Twitter that he was "glad for the thoughtful & roomy platform of a podcast."

"Can't live by 140-character quips alone," he added.