Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked the 46 remaining Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys to tender their resignations, the Justice Department announced Friday.
The department described the request as part of an effort to ensure a “uniform transition.” About half of the country’s 93 U.S. attorneys have already left the department.
INBOX: Jeff Sessions has asked all Obama-era U.S. Attorneys to tender their resignation. This is standard practice during a transition. pic.twitter.com/ngt73NeL1S
— Kevin Daley 🏛 (@KevinDaleyDC) March 10, 2017
Via Fox News:
“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,” the statement added.
It is customary, though not automatic, for the country’s 93 U.S. attorneys to leave their positions once a new president is in office. Incoming administrations over the past several decades typically have replaced most U.S. attorneys during the first year or two.
The Obama administration allowed political appointees of President George W. Bush to serve until their replacement had been nominated and confirmed. One U.S. attorney appointed by Bush, Rod Rosenstein of Maryland, remained on the job for the entire Obama administration and is the current nominee for deputy attorney general.
The move comes amid increasing calls from conservatives to “drain the swamp,” especially as it applies to Obama holdovers in the Justice Department. Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt pressed Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway last month on why the attorney general hadn’t yet fired the lot of them.
“Why haven’t we fired the U.S. attorneys?” he asked. “They are all Obama appointees. They’re acting replacements, even if you haven’t got nominees lined up, would-be careerists. Why hasn’t he, a man of will, done that?”
Hewitt said that he wanted to see Obama’s “sleeper cells” “gone yesterday.” It may have taken a few weeks, but Sessions delivered.
Now, the status of Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, is up in the air. Bharara was appointed by then-President Barack Obama in 2009, but as Fox News pointed out, he “met with Trump in November and said after the meeting that he had agreed to stay on.”
Bharara, the Daily Caller reported last year, was leading the New York-based probe of the Clinton Foundation.
Asked if the move by Sessions was unusual, former DOJ official Thomas Dupre told Fox News that the only thing unusual about it was that it took this long.
“This is something that all presidents do. The president is entitled to fill out his administration, including the top prosecutors in the Justice Department, with people of his own choosing,” he said.