Preet Bharara, the famed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York that President Donald Trump abruptly fired for refusing to resign, was investigating a member of Trump's administration for insider trading when he was ousted from his post.
Bharara was investigating Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for trading "hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in health-related companies, even as he voted on and sponsored legislation affecting the industry" while serving as a Georgia congressman, ProPublica reported. The trades drew heavy scrutiny during Price's confirmation process from Democrats, although he testified all of the dealings were lawful.
A Wall Street Journal investigation concluded Price had made deals worth $300,000 over four years while sitting on the House Budget Committee and Ways and Means Committee's health board. Price additionally lobbied on behalf of a pharmaceutical company whose CEO donated to his campaign and invested in companies that benefited from his opposition to a change in Medicare reimbursements.
According to ProPublica, Bharara's investigation into whether Price's deals were unlawful has not been previously disclosed, and was active at the time Trump decided to fire him. Bharara had been told just days before he could stay on, raising suspicions about the nature of his termination.
Price is arguably one of the most important members of Trump's administration at present, overseeing the White House's joint effort with Republicans in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
After his termination, Bharara posted a somewhat cryptic message to his Twitter account: "By the way, now I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo created the Moreland Commission to investigate and propose reforms to rampant corruption in the state capital of Albany, but later shut it down and enacted only token reforms when it began to look too deeply into his own turf.
Bharara seemed to be hinting at something deeply untoward in his own firing, though the investigation into Price was not the only matter which might have hit close to home for the president; his office was also investigating right-wing news giant Fox News for its structuring of settlement payments.