Fired by the president, the former US attorney has written his first book. He talks about if and when Trump will face justice – and why he fears for his own safety

Preet Bharara is used to dealing with bullies. When he was the US attorney for the southern district of New York, the premier law enforcement body in America, his office prosecuted Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Crips and Bloods gang leaders and mafia bosses. For going after the infamous arms dealer Viktor Bout he was banned from Russia, and the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once tried to persuade the then US vice-president, Joe Biden, to sack him (he didn’t). The TV series Billions is loosely based on his legal battles with a hedge-fund billionaire. As he puts it himself: “Neither I nor anyone I know was too afraid to prosecute rich men in suits.”

So when Bharara says that even he is now feeling apprehensive about his personal safety, and that his fears relate not to al-Qaida or the Gambino family, but to the president of the United States, it comes as a jolt. “I used to have great confidence that my government would protect me,” he says. “You understood that if you were an American citizen like me, or resident like Jamal Khashoggi, you weren’t going to be rendered somewhere, you didn’t think that if you travelled to Madrid, say, and a BS red notice was issued for you, you’d be on your own. I’m a citizen of the United States and I served my country for 17 years, yet I don’t have that confidence any more. I don’t know that the government at its highest level thinks of Americans first – it’s whether you are on his side, or not on his side.”

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