Biden’s DOJ to request over 50 Trump-era US attorneys to resign

D.C.'s acting U.S. attorney is remaining in place to oversee the prosecution of those involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

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The United States Justice Department is expected to ask all but two U.S. attorneys to resign from their appointed posts. 

The resignation request will apply to 56 U.S. attorneys who were appointed by former President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

U.S. attorney general nominee and federal judge Merrick Garland delivers remarks last month in Delaware. The United States Justice Department is expected to ask all but two U.S. attorneys to resign from their appointed posts. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The two prosecutors who will remain are Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who is overseeing the tax probe of Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, and John Durham, who is reinvestigating the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. Durham, however, will step down as the U.S. attorney in the state of Connecticut. 

The request was made by Monty Wilkinson, the acting attorney general, who is running the Justice Department until the Senate confirmation of Biden attorney general nominee Merrick Garland. 

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A U.S. attorney’s job is to prosecute criminal cases brought by the federal government, to prosecute or defend civil cases where the United States is a party and to collect debts owed to the federal government when administrative agencies are unable to do so. 

It is not uncommon for U.S. attorneys to resign when there is a change in the presidency, but the change is often viewed as political. In one of the nation’s biggest resignation actions, in 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno demanded that all 93 U.S. attorneys resign early in the new presidency of Bill Clinton. In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked 46 Barack Obama-era appointees to step down within weeks of Trump assuming office. 

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CNN was the first media outlet to report Wilkinson’s resignation demand. The report notes that Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., is also expected to remain in place as he continues to oversee the prosecution of Trump-inspired insurgents involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

U.S. attorneys are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They usually remain in their roles for at least four years, or, ultimately, at the incoming president’s discretion. 

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