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Federal Prosecutors Told to Resign

CNN is reporting that the Biden administration has asked nearly all of the 93 United States Attorneys, or federal prosecutors, to resign their positions.

United States Attorneys are the chief prosecutors within the regional offices – for instance, the Eastern District of North Carolina – throughout the country that represent the federal government in federal court. Each office is headed by a Senate-confirmed United States Attorney and then staffed with any number of assistant and special assistant United States Attorneys.

These prosecutors represent the Government in criminal and civil cases, prosecuting and defending the government (depending on the case), in local federal district courts.

It is common for the heads of these offices, who are political appointments, to either resign or be fired upon the inauguration of a president from a different party. President Trump effectively fired 46 holdover Obama-era prosecutors in 2017, including prosecutors who were thought to be potentially investigating Trump or election-related issues.

Ultimately if the federal prosecutors do not voluntarily resign, they can be fired, as they serve at the pleasure of the president. New chief prosecutors would need to be approved by the Senate in confirmation proceedings; in the meantime, statute provides that career deputies within the local offices would run the office in an “acting” capacity.

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