WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Joe Biden’s Justice Department asked U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Donald Trump to resign on Tuesday, a report from Bloomberg News states.
Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson said, “interim and acting leaders in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices will make sure that the department continues to accomplish its critical law enforcement mission, vigorously defend the rule of law and pursue the fair and impartial administration of justice for all.”
Bloomberg said replacing top prosecutors is standard for new administrations. The timeline for the officials to depart is a matter of weeks.
The decision is expected to affect 56 Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys. There are a total of 93 U.S. attorneys, according to the Justice Department.
John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, will be asked to step down from that position but will continue in his role as special counsel looking into the origins of the investigation into Trump’s dealings with Russia, a Justice official said.
Despite the overhaul, the Biden administration is asking U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware to continue in office. Weiss is overseeing the tax investigation of Hunter Biden, the president’s son. Wilkinson asked Weiss to continue during a phone call, according to an unnamed department official.
In 2017, many national media outlets criticized the Trump administration and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ actions to replace 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Barack Obama.
In news reports, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said, “Under previous administrations, orderly transitions allowed U.S. attorneys to leave gradually as their replacements were chosen,” the senator said in a statement. “This was done to protect the independence of our prosecutors and avoid disrupting ongoing federal cases.”
Tim Purdon, a former U.S. attorney for North Dakota in the Obama administration, said, “The way the Obama administration handled it was appropriate and respectful and classy,” he said. “This saddens me because many of these people are great public servants and now they are being asked to leave.”
Merrick Garland, Biden’s nominee for Attorney General, will testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing beginning on Feb. 22.