In what came as a surprise move to many today, the Department of Justice announced Friday afternoon that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked for the immediate resignations of 46 United States Attorneys who were political appointees.
It is not unusual for an incoming administration to replace political appointments with people of their own. In fact, many of the Obama administration attorneys had already resigned. What is somewhat unusual is the abrupt manner of their terminations. Some reports said they were told to leave by close of business today.
In an email issued by DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores, “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.”
It would seem that a uniform transition would include having these seasoned attorneys remain in their posts until their replacements are named and confirmed. Political appointees are under no illusions that their jobs will end when a new political party takes over. That’s the name of the game.
Also, the Trump administration does not have a stellar record in filling appointments requiring Senate approval On February 21st, Vox reported that of the 549 “key” appointments that need Senate confirmation, the Trump administration had filled 14.
Flores also said “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.”
It is equally interesting that this announcement came less than 24 hours after Sean Hannity called for a “purge” of Obama appointees in the Justice Department. Is this standard operating procedure or paranoia about the so-called “deep state” officials that many alt-righters claim to be undermining the Trump administration?
The last wholesale “purge” of the Justice Department came during the Clinton Administration under Attorney General Janet Reno who asked for the resignations of ALL U.S. Attorneys at the beginning of the administration. And guess who one of those attorneys was? You got it. Jeff Sessions.