Garland taps new official to lead US attorneys after Trump-era lawyers asked to resign

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Garland taps new official to lead US attorneys after Trump-era lawyers asked to resign

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday tapped former acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson to run U.S. attorneys at the Justice Department after the Biden administration urged Trump-appointed federal attorneys to resign.

Garland named Wilkinson director of the executive office for U.S. attorneys, a role Wilkinson previously held from 2014 through December 2017. Wilkinson was previously the bureau’s assistant chief executive officer and chief of staff.

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Wilkinson, who served as acting attorney general during the transition, also served in other senior positions in the Justice Department as well as in senior positions in the US District Attorney General for the District of Columbia.

Garland extolled Wilkinson’s work to “honor” the “proud traditions of the Justice Department during leadership changes” between new administrations.

President Biden’s election for Attorney General Merrick Garland waves before speaking to staff in Washington on his first day at the Justice Department on Thursday, March 11, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch / Pool via AP)
((Kevin Dietsch / Pool via AP))

“The Department is fortunate to have Monty back at EOUSA and I am confident that he will continue to build on our many successes in enforcing our country’s laws, prosecuting criminals and ensuring equal justice under the law” said Garland on Monday.

Wilkinson will take over the helm for Norman Wong, who has served as EOUSA’s assistant director since President Biden took office. Wong will return as assistant chief executive officer.

As is typical with the arrival of a new administration, the Biden administration asked Trump-era US attorneys to step down in February.

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The Justice Department said earlier this year, “Almost all of the presidents appointed by the previous administration have offered to resign, despite US attorneys and US marshals being asked to remain in place temporarily.”

The DOJ said that before the transition process began, about a third of U.S. law firms were already run by acting or interim executives.

The Justice Department said the president would make an announcement regarding the nominations to the Senate “as soon as this information becomes available.”

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The U.S. attorneys switched roles in late February, with the exception of the prosecutor overseeing the federal tax investigations against Hunter Biden, David Weiss for Delaware. John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, stepped down from his position as U.S. attorney but remains on as special advisor to continue his now-year-long investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Meanwhile, Channing Phillips became acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, and former acting US attorney Michael Sherwin moved at the request of the “Department of Justice,” Fox News reported for the first time.