Did Trump's personal lawyer help fire a key U.S. attorney?

Image: U.S. President Trump's lawyer Kasowitz delivers a statement in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, speaks to the news media after the congressional testimony of former FBI Director James Comey...

There's no shortage of important unanswered questions surrounding Donald Trump's White House, but as we discussed yesterday, one of the more important lines of inquiry is why the president fired dozens of U.S. attorneys without notice or explanation.

Of particular interest are the circumstances surrounding Preet Bharara, who served as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which made him one of the most important and highest profile federal prosecutors in the United States, tackling cases ranging from terrorism to Wall Street to government corruption. After the 2016 election, Bharara wanted to stay at his post, and both Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the same commitment: the New York prosecutor could stay right where he was.

In March, Trump reversed course and fired Bharara anyway, and the federal prosecutor still has no idea why. Pro Publica reports this morning on one possible explanation.

Marc Kasowitz, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer in the Russia investigation, has boasted to friends and colleagues that he played a central role in the firing of Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to four people familiar with the conversations.Kasowitz told Trump, "This guy is going to get you," according to a person familiar with Kasowitz's account.

Kasowitz, it's worth emphasizing, is an ally of the president who's represented Trump in a variety of lawsuits, including the fraud allegations surrounding Trump University. He's now responsible for overseeing the defense of the president, despite his lack of experience in cases like these, and by all appearances, he's off to a rough start.

It's entirely possible that Kasowitz was boasting to his friends and colleagues in a dubious way, exaggerating his influence to make his White House reach sound more impressive. That said, it's at least plausible that Kasowitz would've been in a position to offer Trump occasional advice on legal matters, and he may have seen Bharara as a potential threat to his pal in the Oval Office.

Given that we have no other credible explanation for why Trump fired Bharara, it's at least worth considering.

If, however, Kasowitz was directly involved in the firing of a federal prosecutor because he hoped to shield his client from legal trouble, it's hard not to wonder whether Trump's lawyer needs a lawyer.