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Justice Department Has No U.S. Attorneys
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Summary: After slashing dozens of Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys’ jobs, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has still not filled the vacancies. 

Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump sent a clear message to his friends and haters– President Barack Obama-appointed attorneys weren’t welcome in the Justice Department. The two men fired dozens of U.S. attorneys hired by the previous administration; but unfortunately, they have yet to fill those positions, which means that the department has no U.S. Attorneys on staff. 

  
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“We really need to work hard at that,” Sessions told The Washington Post who broke the shocking news on Wednesday.

Last month, 40 attorneys lost their jobs at the Department of Justice because of their perceived loyalty to Obama, but Sessions so far has yet to fill in those roles, which typically prosecute federal crimes in state offices nationwide. When pressed about the vacancies, Sessions said he would only hire career-acting U.S. attorneys who would respond well to the Trump administration. He also said that the process to find the right people could take months.

Currently, the Department of Justice lacks a deputy associate general, who typically is responsible for hiring U.S. attorneys to the department. Rod Rosenstein has been mentioned to be the next deputy, but he will not be confirmed by the Senate until later this month, according to The Washington Post. 

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The delay in replacing the ousted staff can hamper law enforcement from moving forward with new policies, according to a Matt Miller, a former Justice Department official who spoke to The Washington Post. 

“An acting U.S. attorney doesn’t speak with the same authority to a police chief or to a local prosecutor as a Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney does,” Miller said. “If you’re a Democrat, you’re probably happy to have these positions filled by career officials because they’re less likely to pursue some of the policies that Jeff Sessions supports. But if you’re a supporter of the president, you probably want them to move on those positions.”



Besides not filling the U.S. attorney roles, Sessions has also not hired heads of the DOJ’s civil rights, criminal, and national security divisions.

James Pfiffner of George Mason University told Business Insider that although the acting U.S. attorneys are well-qualified, they don’t necessarily share the Trump Administration’s law enforcement agenda.

“If you’re Trump, you probably want people in those positions to make sure that your priorities are represented,” Pfiffner said.

Cleaning out the DOJ of Obama-appointees is not the only big change Sessions has made to his department. The San Francisco Gate reported that in his role, Sessions has rescinded plans to phase out the government’s use of private prisons, decreased protections for transgender students in schools, and called for a review of consent decrees with local police departments to address misconduct claims.

Source: The Washington Post

Photo courtesy of AL.com

What do you think about the lack of U.S. Attorneys in the Department of Justice? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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