Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked all remaining attorneys appointed by the former president to recuse themselves from their positions.
Sarah Isgur Flores, the Director of Public Affairs for the Justice Department, issued the following statement on the matter:
“As was the case in prior transitions, many of the United States Attorneys nominated by the previous administration already have left the Department of Justice. The Attorney General has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed U.S. Attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure 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.”
The newly issued order will force the current acting deputy attorney general, Dana Boente, to resign as well as Rod Rosenstein, the attorney Trump nominated to officially replace her. This recent order also stands in contrast to previous statements made by President Trump, including his having asked Obama-appointed attorney Preet Bharara to remain in his position. The new order targeting Obama appointees has generated speculation that something has changed in Trump’s once-amicable relationship with these and some other Obama-era attorneys in recent months.
However, some have commented that the decision to remove Obama-appointed attorneys is long overdue, pointing to actions taken in previous administrations. For example, the Bush and Clinton administrations replaced the vast majority of attorneys appointed by their predecessors within their first year of office.
Yet, the issue of removing Obama-era appointees may cause what may normally be considered a routine procedure into a contentious issue. Indeed, the relationship between Obama and Trump has devolved significantly, owing largely to Trump’s accusations that Obama wire-tapped his campaign headquarters in Trump Tower prior to last year’s election. This latest decision on Trump’s part could also further exacerbate divisions in the political establishment, where Democrats and others opposed to Trump continue to accuse the new president of executive overreach.
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