During a floor speech on the topic moments ago, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said the White House has told her it was replacing from five to 10 Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys with its own interim appointees.(h/t Flint for video)
We know of seven who have left during the last couple of months, many under unusual circumstances. Read the list here.
The rumors that (U.S. Attorney Carol Lam) has been asked to resign were met disbelief and dropped jaws by legal community members with ties to federal court.
"I was in a state of shock," said Peter Nunez, who served as the U.S. attorney in charge of the San Diego offices from 1982 to 1988. "It's just like nothing I've ever seen before in 35-plus years. To be asked to resign and to be publicly humiliated by leaking this to the press is beyond any bounds of decency and behavior. It shocks me. It really is outrageous."
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How'd they get that power?
It was an obscure provision in the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act, and it didn't take them very long to use it. The president signed it into law in March of last year -- by June, they were already moving to replace unwanted prosecutors.
Former Arkansas USA Bud Cummins told the Wall Street Journal that "a top Justice official asked for his resignation in June, saying the White House wanted to give another person the opportunity to serve." Cummins was finally forced out in December, replaced with Timothy Griffin, formerly the research director of the Republican National Committee.
Now that we have a Democratic majority in the Senate, I hope that this doesn't get swept under the carpet. The Republicans have been gunning for the judicial branch for years and on the face of it, this really doesn't look good.