In March, 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno summarily dismissed 93 out of 94 U.S. Attorneys as the Justice Department was being remade into the image of the Clinton Administration. The media treated this replacement as routine. In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder bluntly told the media, while replacing U.S. Attorneys appointed by President George W. Bush, that “Elections matter. It is our intention to have the U.S. Attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as we can.” Again, the media treated the replacement as routine. In fact, the replacement of U.S. Attorneys by a new administration is routine, regardless of which party holds the White House. Traditionally, all current U.S. Attorneys submit a letter of resignation at the beginning of a new presidential administration. Eventually, most of these resignation letters are accepted by the new Administration, particularly if the new Administration is of the opposite political party of the outgoing president.
The fact that U.S. Attorneys are political appointees who serve “at the pleasure of the President” underscores the reality that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ dismissal of the remaining 46 of President Obama’s U.S. Attorneys is not unusual. The media has made a mountain out of this molehill, and have accused President Trump and Attorney General Sessions of politicizing the Department of Justice. In case the media missed it, the Department of Justice was politicized long before the Trump Inaugural. Where were these “watchdogs of democracy” when Attorney General Holder fired Bush’s appointees, or lied to Congress about Fast and Furious, or refused to prosecute anyone at the IRS for targeting conservative groups? It seems that the media only wants to make a story about the politicization of the Justice Department when a Republican wants to replace Democratic U.S. Attorneys.
This non-scandal has garnered even more attention after Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the District of Manhattan, refused to resign and was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week. This is not the first time Bharara has made headlines as a U.S. Attorney. In 2014, Bharara’s office went after conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza after he made several movies outlining Barack Obama’s political history and philosophy. Bharara trumped-up charges against D’Souza for violating campaign finance laws in the aftermath of D’Souza’s films critical of the Obama Administration, which led to D’Souza serving time behind bars. Bharara’s office and the Obama Administration continually refused to hand-over case files to a congressional oversight committee in the aftermath of D’Souza’s conviction and sentence, further fueling speculation that the case against the filmmaker was politically motivated. For Bharara to now act like he is the victim of a politicized process at the Department of Justice is more than just a tad bit ironic.
This entire episode surrounding the dismissal of U.S. Attorney’s by Jeff Sessions just underscores the liberal vitriol directed at this Administration. Bharara has become a showman for the liberal resistance and has become a media darling in the process. The former Deputy National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama, Ben Rhodes, tweeted over the weekend that “In democracies the rule of law is not supposed to be partisan. In what way was Preet Bharara not good at his job?” For starters, Ben, America is a republic, not a democracy, and we could ask you the same question. In what way was Dinesh D’Souza not good at his job? Or was he too good at his job and that provoked the Obama Administration to target him with criminal prosecution? Isn’t prosecuting a political adversary the very essence of the rule of law being partisan?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has done nothing extraordinary in asking U.S. Attorneys to resign who were appointed by President Barack Obama. Every modern president has asked for the resignation of most, if not all, of the U.S. Attorneys appointed by their predecessors at the outset of a new administration. For the media to make a big deal over Jeff Sessions doing something that Eric Holder gleefully did in 2009 is ridiculous. The only politicization of the Department of Justice taking place in this case is the double standard applied to the replacement of U.S. Attorneys by the liberal media.