(Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
Between political parties and across argument lines, there is one statement about Donald Trump that both the left and right seem to credit: he has never been one for protocol.
Recently, the Trump administration ordered 46 Obama-era prosecutors to resign, “effective immediately,” according to Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores. Those 46 are the remaining attorneys from Obama’s appointments, as many have already left. This is not an uncommon move when the power balance switches between parties after an election.
Administrations have the right to replace and nominate US attorneys, and it isn’t unusual. Clinton and Bush dismissed dozens, and Reagan replaced most of his administration, but presidents rarely do it so immediately, abruptly, and extensively as Trump ordered last Friday. The decision appears to come following pressure from Trump supporters outside the White House, and is an abrupt surprise to many.
Preet Bharara, pictured above, is one of the 46 asked to resign and among the most reputable, with a history of prosecuting public corruption and insider trading. Bharara was asked by Jeff Sessions, the new attorney general, to leave his position as a prosecutor. Although Bharara intended to, it seems he has received a phone call along with the other attorneys that request a resignation. The clean sweep will be total.
The dismissals come during the same week Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington write to request that Bharara examine whether President Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which would prohibit his businesses from accepting money from foreign governments.
Only two attorneys will remain after the mass dismissal: Rod Rosenstein, Trump’s nomination for deputy attorney general, and Dana Boente, who currently holds the position for acting deputy general. Both are the top prosecutors in their districts and will remain in their position after a phone call from Trump that informed each their resignations would not be accepted.
The resignation order from the Trump administration has received attention for its curt nature, as opposed to a gradual transition that would minimize disruption, and the dismissal of Bharara, who many assumed would be kept as an inherited and credited prosecutor. The reversals on decisions like Bharara’s are an inconvenience on an order that already asks some attorneys to clear out within a business day but furthermore appears to mark a disputed or disordered transition process.
Marirose Bernal Staff Reporter