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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Hang in There, Preet!


After Republicans used the unfortunate term "purge" several times this week to talk about how Trump should be immediately clean house in the federal government so that only his sycophants can have jobs, yesterday Trump obliged them by asking for the resignation of 46 US Attorneys:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked for the resignations of 46 US attorneys, igniting anger from officials who say they were given no warning about their dismissals.
The Justice Department announced the firings Friday afternoon, and many prosecutors had not been formally notified or even told before they were fired, according to a law enforcement source. Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente was in the beginning stages of calling each US attorney individually to tell them they had to resign when the DOJ issued a statement.
A law enforcement source charged that "this could not have been handled any worse" because there was little warning. Many prosecutors found out through media reports that they had to resign today.

This is not abnormal; both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush dismissed a number of US Attorneys at once (though Bush's reasons were pretty sinister). But this particular time might be a bit different.

First, as CNN mentions, they were given no warning, and their replacements aren't apparent.

Second, US Attorney Preet Bharara, whose district includes Manhattan and has prosecuted some pretty high-profile cases in the last few years, had been told by Trump and Jeff Sessions personally that he'd be staying on.

So what changed? Rachel Maddow explained last night:

MADDOW: I should tell you two days ago that a letter was sent to Preet Bharara by a few ethics watchdog groups, asking him based on his jurisdiction in Manhattan to investigate whether the Trump Organization is receiving illegal financial benefits from foreign governments that are redounding to the President himself.

Well, that pretty much gives up the game, and of course when Trump gets around to replacing Bharara, it'll be with someone who won't look into the Trump organization. Since US Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President (do they pee on him, or does he just watch them pee, or do they all pee? That's never getting old.), that avenue for investigating Trump's potential violation of the Emoluments Clause is closed, right?

Not so fast:

Looks like we have a showdown. Stay tuned...

UPDATE (3/11/2017. 2:33 PM):

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