Schumer ‘troubled’ by Sessions's request for US attorneys' resignations

Schumer ‘troubled’ by Sessions's request for US attorneys' resignations
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerSchumer jams to Diana Ross at New York party Warren cautions Dems against infighting FCC advances proposal to unmask blocked caller ID in threat cases MORE (D-N.Y.) said he is concerned by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsRussia is recalling ambassador at center of Trump campaign controversy: report Justice Department developing strategies to shut down ‘sanctuary cities’: report Sally Yates slams Sessions on criminal justice reform MORE’s request for resignations from 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaCotton: US policy should be regime change in Iran Chelsea Manning takes part in first Pride March Trump: Obama not leading the resistance MORE.

“I’m troubled to learn of requests for resignations from the remaining U.S. attorneys, particularly that of Preet Bharara, after the President 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 [of New York],” he said in a statement Friday.

“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,” Schumer added. "They ask for letters of resignation but the attorneys are allowed to stay on the job until their successor is confirmed.”

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“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.”

Sessions asked the 46 U.S. attorneys remaining from Obama’s administration to submit their registrations earlier Friday.

U.S. attorneys are normally replaced at the beginning of new administrations, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) said the 46 were left over from 93 U.S. attorneys overall.

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,” she added.

The call for resignations applies to all Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys, and President Trump will then decide whether to accept each resignation. 

Bharara’s inclusion with the other U.S. attorneys was unexpected as he reportedly met Trump after the 2016 presidential election and agreed to keep his post during the current administration.

The prosecutor told the New York Times that Sessions, a former GOP senator from Alabama and a top surrogate for Trump’s presidential bid, also asked him to stay.

Democracy 21, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Campaign Legal Center sent Bharara a letter this week asking him to investigate Trump’s ties with foreign governments.

The message purportedly asked that Bharara probe whether Trump has received payments or other benefits from foreign governments through his business interests.