The Biden Administration’s Department of Justice asking Trump-appointed U.S. attorneys to resign should be an opportunity to diversify the roles, if campaign pledges have anything to do with it. Cleaning house, Biden has an opportunity to bring in a new crop of prosecutors committed to the values of the current administration.
As NewsOne previously reported, the prior administration had the highest percentage of white men appointees when compared to the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. More than 80% of U.S. Attorneys Trump appointed were white men.
All but two prosecutors were asked to submit their resignation effective February 28.
While asking appointees of a prior administration to resign is a commonly accepted practice, rushing to remove individuals appointed by the prior administration could also be a matter of trust. Distrust of the former administration arguably led Biden to appoint a career official as the acting attorney general.
A controversial U.S. Attorney from Pennsylvania stepped down at the beginning of the year. David J. Freed, former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, drew attention last year for placing partisan interests above the integrity of an election-related investigation. Freed broke protocol by issuing a statement about an ongoing investigation into a potential issue with overseas ballots in Luzerne County, feeding into Trump’s unfounded allegations of fraud. Election officials later clarified the incident as one of administrative error.
Acting U.S. Attorneys remain in place until new appointees can be confirmed. The Office of the U.S. Attorneys is a section of the Department of Justice. Merrick Garland, Biden’s choice for Attorney General, is still waiting for his confirmation hearing.
Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson said the office was committed to a seamless transition.
“Until U.S. Attorney nominees are confirmed, the 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,” said Wilkinson in a statement.
Wilkinson noted that one-third of the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices were already under the leadership of interim leaders prior to the transition announcement. CNN reported that 25 acting U.S. Attorneys were already in place.