The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday asked most federal prosecutors appointed during former President Donald Trump’s term to resign, though a few handling politically sensitive Trump-era investigations are expected to remain in place.
While most top prosecutors will depart, as is routine when a new president is elected, Acting Attorney General Robert Wilkinson intends to ask Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who is overseeing a tax probe of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, to remain in office, a department official told Reuters.
John Durham, appointed as special counsel by former Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of federal investigations of links between Trump, his entourage and Russia, will also continue his work but will resign his position as U.S. attorney in Connecticut, the official said.
“We are committed to ensuring a seamless transition,” Wilkinson said in a statement.
A second law enforcement official told Reuters that the Justice Department is also expected to ask Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to continue to play a major role in overseeing his office’s investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol siege.
The White House on Tuesday said the decision to leave in place a few officials who are handling sensitive investigations underscored Biden’s commitment to maintaining an independent Justice Department.
“The president has also made clear that he wants to restore the independence of the Department of Justice and to ensure it remains free of any undue political influence,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Meanwhile, U.S. senators are also reviewing applications for possible U.S. attorney candidates, staff in several congressional offices told Reuters.
Customarily the two senators from each state help vet candidates and must sign off on the nomination before it can proceed, though that practice fell by the wayside during the Trump administration.