In a phone call Monday night, Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson asked Delaware attorney David Weiss to remain in office, where he oversees the tax probe of Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden. John Durham, appointed special advisor by former Attorney General William Barr to re-examine the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, will also continue his work. However, he is expected to step down as a U.S. attorney in Connecticut, the justice officer said.
The resignation motion is expected to apply to 56 Senate-approved U.S. attorneys appointed by Trump.
Justice officials have scheduled a call with US lawyers across the country to discuss a transition that is expected to take weeks. The judicial officer did not say when the resignations would take effect.
Changing US lawyers is routine, but often fraught with political undertones. In 2017, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions urged 46 US attorneys appointed by Obama to file their resignation. A handful were allowed to stay for a short time, but most had to leave immediately.
Suspicion of Trump-era officials led the Biden administration to appoint a Justice Department official as acting attorney general while it waits for the U.S. Senate to approve Merrick Garland, the presidential candidate who heads the department. The Garland confirmation hearing was scheduled to begin Feb. 8, but was delayed by former Justice Committee chairman Lindsey Graham, who opposed a speedy Garland hearing until this week when the Democrats took formal control of the Senate pronounced. Graham said he needed time to question Garland about the ongoing investigation and wrote a letter to Wilkinson Tuesday asking him “not to disrupt or abandon the investigation”. Of the 94 U.S. attorneys serving in districts across the country, 25 are in acting positions after some Trump-appointed individuals resigned prior to Biden’s inauguration. Among the people the Biden administration may hold onto for a while is Michael Sherwin, acting US attorney in Washington, DC, who oversees the far-reaching investigation into the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Sherwin is a Miami prosecutor but was installed in DC by former Attorney General William Barr. Among the options that Biden government officials have been discussing is that he may continue to run the insurgency probe, possibly from Justice HQ, while making room for Biden’s own agent in the DC office. It is less certain how long the incumbent US attorneys in New York City will remain in their posts: Seth DuCharme in Brooklyn and Audrey Strauss in Manhattan. Some high-profile US attorneys who did not resign prior to Biden’s inauguration included Southern Ohio United States attorneys David DeVillers, Utah attorney John Huber, and Pittsburgh attorney Scott Brady. Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown had made it clear to a local news agency that DeVillers should be replaced and, according to Cleveland, published an appeal for a resumption of life. com. DeVillers is currently overseeing two high profile corruption investigations involving a former Republican lawmaker and members of the Cincinnati council, including a Democrat.
Huber was first appointed by former President Barack Obama and then reappointed by Trump. During his second tenure as a US attorney, Huber was hired by Sessions to review an earlier Justice Department investigation into the business relationships of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. Huber closed his investigation and concluded that there was no need to reopen the investigation, a decision that irritated Barr, according to those briefed on the matter.
Barr hired Brady to review Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s allegations regarding Ukraine and the Biden family.
The move was originally seen by law enforcement officials as a way to keep dubious allegations by Giuliani – about which Barr publicly cast doubt – out of other Justice Department affairs.
But Brady took the job, former Justice Department officials say, and urged investigative steps that led to internal battles with the FBI and others. The status of Brady’s efforts in Ukraine remains unclear.
This story and its headline have been updated with more reports.