President Joe Biden’s Justice Department is preparing to ask most U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Donald Trump to resign their positions while asking two officials working on politically sensitive cases to stay on.
The department plans to make the request to Trump nominees as early as Tuesday, a department official said on condition of anonymity to preview the move.
Replacing top prosecutors is a standard process of a new administration that seeks to put its own stamp on U.S. attorneys’ offices across the country. The timeline for the officials to depart is weeks.
The decision, which was reported earlier by CNN, is expected to affect 56 Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys. There are 93 U.S. attorneys, according to the Justice Department.
Brian Moran, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, was among those who announced their departures Tuesday. Moran said in a statement he would leave his post on Feb. 28 and return to private practice. The Department of Justice will name an interim U.S. attorney to serve until Biden’s pick is confirmed.
Moran was sworn in on Jan. 17, 2019. He previously served as chief deputy attorney general for the Washington State Attorney General and was a chief criminal prosecutor for the AG’s office. A Department of Justice press release cited work on prosecuting hate crimes, as well as reducing gun violence and the flow of opioids into Western Washington, among his accomplishments as U.S. Attorney.
Despite the overhaul, the Biden administration is asking U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware to continue in office. Weiss is overseeing the tax investigation of Hunter Biden, the president’s son. Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson made that request of Weiss during a Monday night call, the department official said.
John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, will be asked to step down from that position but will continue in his role as special counsel looking into the origins of the investigation into Trump’s dealings with Russia, the official said.
The Biden administration also is expected to ask Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, to move into an independent role to supervise solely the cases related to the deadly Jan. 6 mob attack at the U.S. Capitol, according to another official.
Biden officials are discussing a possible special counsel role for Sherwin, in which case a Democratic appointee would oversee the other cases in D.C., the largest U.S. attorney’s office in the country, that official said.
In 2017, at the start of the Trump administration, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama to submit their resignations. Most had to leave their jobs immediately although some were given time to finish their work.
Merrick Garland, Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has yet to have his confirmation hearing.
The Seattle Times contributed to this report.