Among those taken by surprise was Manhattan federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, who met with President Trump at Trump Tower in NY back in November.
It emerged on Friday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was seeking the resignations of 46 United States attorneys who served under the leadership of Barack Obama. "Moments ago I was sacked", Bharara tweeted on Saturday using his recently created personal account. "Moments ago I was sacked", he wrote. "Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honour of my professional life".
One of his most high-profile cases was that of Raj Rajaratnam, a former hedge fund manager, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison and fined $93 million in 2011 on insider trading charges brought by Bharara.
"We had a good meeting", he added.
Washington attorney Chuck Cooper, an assistant attorney general during the Ronald Reagan administration whom Trump considered for the post of solicitor general, said there is no connection between replacing US attorneys and any investigation of Russian Federation. Obama had asked Bob Gates, who was appointed by President George W Bush, to continue as his secretary of defense.
What role, if any, Bharara's team is playing in the multiple investigations of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential campaign, Russian contacts by Trump aides, and Michael Flynn's actions leading up to and while serving as national security adviser is unclear. That request is very typical when a new president strolls into Washington, but the announcement might have been a surprise to Bharara, the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of NY.
A person with knowledge of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's actions said Saturday that he is taking President Donald Trump up on his word that he can remain in his post.
The Southern District of NY, the prominent post to which Obama appointed Bharara in 2009, includes the Manhattan and Bronx boroughs as well as neighboring areas just north of the city. Bharara extensively investigated officials in Albany, the NY state capital, and secured "convictions against multiple elected officials and other corrupt public servants", according to his office. After Bharara refused to resign, he was sacked by Trump on Saturday.
There are 93 US attorney positions in the United States.
"Billions" has mined the drama of the backroom deals, inter-agency rivalries and naked political jockeying that influence the prosecutorial decisions made by the powerful U.S. Attorney's office.