Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked for the resignations of the 46 remaining U.S. attorneys who were appointed by former President Barack Obama, Reuters reported Friday.
While every new administration usually appoints its own attorneys, most do not ask for resignations en masse. However, Fox News reported that the Justice Department says the move was intended to ensure there was a “uniform transition.”
“Until the new U.S. Attorneys are confirmed, the dedicated career prosecutors in our U.S. Attorney’s Offices will continue the great work of the Department in investigating, prosecuting, and deterring the most violent offenders,” a Department of Justice spokeswoman said.
Two prominent attorneys have been asked to stay on, according to Department of Justice spokesperson Peter Carr: Acting Attorney General Dana Boente, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Deputy Attorney General-nominee Rod Rosenstein.
“The president called Dana Boente and Rod Rosenstein tonight to inform them that he has declined to accept their resignation, and they will remain in their current positions,” Carr said late Friday.
However, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, arguably the most prominent U.S. attorney, had been among those asked to resign.
Bharara had been asked to stay on by then-President-elect Trump in November, and his “office handles some of the most critical business and criminal cases passing through the federal judicial system,” Reuters reports.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said he was “troubled” to learn of the resignation requests, “particularly that of Preet Bharara.”
He wasn’t the only Democrat protesting, either.
“I’m surprised to hear that President Trump and Attorney General Sessions have abruptly fired all 46 remaining U.S. attorneys,” California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said.
It’s customary for all of the 93 U.S. attorneys, who are appointed by the president, to leave their posts during the first year or two when administrations change.
However, that’s not an automatic process, and the reaction of Sens. Feinstein and Schumer — as well as the unprecedented obstructionism from Democrats against the Trump administration — may indicate that the administration had reason to believe some Obama appointees might try to stay on in their roles to hobble Trump.
Whatever the reason, it’s yet another draining of the swamp, courtesy of Jeff Sessions.
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H/T The Hill