Less than three weeks after Joe Biden was sworn in as president, the Justice Department’s acting leadership will ask all but one of the top federal prosecutors appointed by former President Donald Trump to step down
A senior Justice Department official confirmed to HuffPost that DOJ leadership would seek the resignations of the dozens of presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys who were put in place by Trump. The expected resignations could begin as soon as Tuesday. News of the planned requests for resignations was first reported by CNN.
But U.S. Attorney David Weiss of Delaware, who is overseeing the investigation of Biden’s son Hunter, will remain on the job. The official also said that the move would not affect U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham’s role as special counsel investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, even though Durham is expected to be asked to step down as his state’s top federal prosecutor.
The move could also spare, at least temporarily, officials like Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin, who was put in place by the Trump administration and is now overseeing the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation of the hundreds of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in support of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
A new president typically will replace the U.S. attorneys appointed by his predecessor, especially when there is a change of party control of the White House. In recent history, the departures have been planned ahead of time. However, the Trump administration abruptly acted to remove former President Barack Obama’s U.S. attorneys in March 2017 after Fox News commentator Sean Hannity portrayed the federal prosecutors as “saboteurs” from the “deep state.”
Biden has said he won’t interfere in the Justice Department’s prosecutorial decision-making. “It’s not my Justice Department. It’s the people’s Justice Department,” he said in December.