U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked the remaining 46 chief federal prosecutors left over from the Obama administration to resign, including Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara who had been asked to stay on in November by then President-elect Donald Trump.
A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed the resignation requests applied to Bharara. However, it was not immediately clear if all resignations would ultimately be accepted.
Bharara was unsure where he stood because he did not know if the person who contacted him was aware that Trump had asked him to remain in office, according a source familiar with the matter. Bharara’s office handles some of the most critical business and criminal cases passing through the federal judicial system.
U.S. attorneys are political appointees, and the request from Trump’s Justice Department is part of a routine process. Not every new administration replaces all U.S. attorneys at once.
Bharara met with Trump in Trump Tower on Nov. 30. Afterward, Bharara told reporters the two had a “good meeting” and he had agreed to stay on.
The Justice Department statement said: “Until the new U.S. attorneys are confirmed, the dedicated career prosecutors in our U.S. attorney’s offices will continue the great work of the department in investigating, prosecuting, and deterring the most violent offenders.”
Robert Capers, U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, issued a statement saying he had been asked to resign. He said Bridget Rohde, the chief assistant U.S. attorney in that office, would take over his role in an acting capacity.
“It has been my greatest honor to serve my country, New York City and the people of this district for almost 14 years, with the last 17 months serving as United States Attorney,” Capers said.
(Reporting by Eric Walsh, Mark Hosenball and Joel Schechtman in Washington and Nate Raymond in Boston, Editing by Eric Beech and David Gregorio)
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