President Biden’s Justice Department will start the process of removing most Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys appointed by the Trump administration but expects to keep two prosecutors working on high-profile, politically sensitive cases in place. The process is routine, and the attorneys will be asked to resign. On Tuesday, acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson said in a statement, “We are committed to ensuring a seamless transition.”
Remember when Trump did this and it was the end of democracy in the United States? https://t.co/AWhTczsXOC
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) February 9, 2021
Some conservatives questioned the timing of the move, coming just as impeachment proceedings against Trump got underway. Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman in the former Trump administration who now tracks activities in the Biden Justice Department, noted that when Jeff Sessions, Trump’s first attorney general, asked for resignations from U.S. attorneys appointed by Obama, Democratic leaders expressed criticism. Prior elaborated:
“The Biden Administration, like the Trump Administration before it, has the absolute right to request resignations of incumbent U.S. Attorneys. What will be frustrating to conservatives, however, is that Democrats, pearl-clutching columnists, and cable news pundits tried to spin it as a ‘threat to democracy’ when Trump did it, but will now say ‘all is well’ since it’s Biden sending the pink slips.”
According to the Justice Department, there are 93 U.S. attorneys, and the resignation request affects 56 of them. The two exceptions are John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, and David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware.
Weiss is overseeing the investigation of Hunter Biden’s taxes and business dealings with China. Durham will be asked to step down as U.S. attorney for Connecticut but will remain in his role as special counsel, appointed by former Attorney General William Barr, investigating the FBI’s probe into whether Trump’s 2016 campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Many lawmakers, including Senator Chuck Grassley, R-IA, have expressed concern about the Democratic and legacy media coverup of the Hunter Biden investigation. For over a year, Senator Grassley and Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI, the chairmen of the HSGAC and the Senate Finance Committee, respectively, investigated the Biden family’s financial dealings.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 23, 2020
On Sept. 23, 2020, they released an 87-page report entitled “Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S. Government Policy and Related Concerns.” Grassley indicated the information was delegitimized, asserting, “the liberal media and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle falsely said we were peddling Russian disinformation.”
The same day as the release of the Johnson-Grassley report, Senator Gary Peters and Senator Ron Wyden, their democratic rivals, released a rebuttal of sorts, a 56-page document entitled “Election Interference: Majority Investigation Amplifies Russian Attack on 2020 Election.” On Dec. 14, 2020, after Hunter Biden publicly acknowledged he was under federal investigation, Grassley commented, “Based on all the facts known to date, Joe Biden has a lot of explaining to do.”
The Biden administration is also expected to ask Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, to resign but remain at the Justice Department to supervise the massive investigation into the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. In this case, a Democratic appointee would oversee the other cases in D.C. Currently, momentum is growing for a 9/11-style probe into the attack, with the investigation already reaching all 50 states and 250 open cases.