Sessions Fires 46 Holdover Obama U.S. Attorneys

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The Trump administration ordered 46 holdover U.S. Attorneys to tender their resignations immediately, including Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, the New York Times reports. The firings were a surprise, especially for Bharara, who has a reputation for prosecuting public corruption cases and for investigating insider trading. In November, he met with President-elect Trump and told reporters that both Trump and Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general, had asked him about staying on. (Bharara said he was fired after declining to resign.) Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said, “The Attorney General has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed U.S. Attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure a uniform transition.”

The abrupt order came after two weeks of increasing calls from Trump’s allies outside the government to oust appointees from President Obama’s administration. Sean Hannity, a Fox News commentator who is a strong Trump supporter, said Trump needed to “purge” Obama holdovers from the federal government. Hannity portrayed them as “saboteurs” from the  “deep state” who were leaking secrets to hurt Trump. Several prosecutors were told to leave by the end of Friday. The abrupt nature of the dismissals distinguished Trump’s mass firing from a similar one in 1993 under Attorney General Janet Reno. The prosecutors in 1993 were not summarily told to clear out their offices.

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