AG Sessions asks for resignations from 46 Obama-era US attorneys

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked the 46 remaining Obama-era U.S. attorneys for their resignations. 

It is customary for all U.S. attorneys appointed by the previous administration to submit their resignations at the start of the new president's term.  Sessions is not doing anything that any other new administration hasn't done in the past with federal prosecutors who are reluctant to leave.

But you'd never know that listening to some Democrats.

The Hill:

Sessions asked for the federal prosecutors to resign "in order to ensure a uniform transition," DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.

"As was the case in prior transitions, many of the United States Attorneys nominated by the previous administration already have left the Department of Justice," the spokeswoman said.

The DOJ said career prosecutors in Sessions' office would continue investigations and prosecutions until the new U.S. attorneys are confirmed.

The call for resignations applies to all Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorneys, including Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

That comes as a surprise, as Bharara reportedly met with Trump after the election and agreed to remain in his position during the Trump administration. Sessions also asked him to stay, the prosecutor told The New York Times.

Once the resignations are submitted, it would be Trump's decision on whether to accept all of them.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that he was "troubled to learn of reports of requests for resignations from the remaining U.S. Attorneys, particularly that of Preet Bharara."

The Senate Democratic leader said Trump "initiated a call to me in November and assured me he wanted Mr. Bharara to continue to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District."

"While it's true that presidents from both parties made their own choices for U.S. Attorney positions across the country, they have always done so in an orderly fashion that doesn't put ongoing investigations at risk. They ask for letters of resignation but the attorneys are allowed to stay on the job until their successor is confirmed," he said.

"By asking for the immediate resignation of every remaining U.S. Attorney before their replacements have been confirmed or even nominated, the President is interrupting ongoing cases and investigations and hindering the administration of justice."

Democracy 21, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Campaign Legal Center sent a letter this week asking Bharara to investigate whether Trump has received payments or other benefits from foreign governments through his business interests, according to The Washington Post.

Given the ideological bent of Obama appointees, it would be crazy for the president to expect a "uniform transition" as Sessions pointed out in his letter.  The Department of Justice expects federal prosecutors to all be on the same page when it comes to prosecuting federal crimes.  That many of these prosecutors would not implement federal policy on issues like immigration disqualifies them from further service.

As for the N.Y. prosecutor, Bharara, Trump may yet allow him to stay in office.  And others who are knee-deep in important cases may also receive a reprieve from the president.  But the principle that the new president has this option is what Sessions is enforcing.

Democrats who make a stink about an "orderly transition" are just blowing political smoke.