Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » After report that Biden administration is asking almost all US Attorneys to submit their resignations, Durbin and Duckworth issue statement backing Lausch
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After report that Biden administration is asking almost all US Attorneys to submit their resignations, Durbin and Duckworth issue statement backing Lausch

Tuesday, Feb 9, 2021


The Justice Department, as soon as Tuesday, is expected to ask US attorneys appointed by former President Donald Trump to submit their resignations, a turnover expected to spare two top prosecutors in Delaware and Connecticut overseeing two sensitive Trump-era investigations, a senior Justice Department official said.

In a call Monday night, acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson asked Delaware US Attorney David Weiss to remain in office, where he is overseeing the tax probe of Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son. John Durham, appointed as special counsel by former Attorney General William Barr to reinvestigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, will also continue his work, but he is expected to resign as US attorney in Connecticut, the Justice official said.

The resignation request is expected to apply to 56 Senate-confirmed US attorneys appointed by Trump.

Justice officials have scheduled a call with US attorneys around the country to discuss a transition that is expected to take weeks. The Justice official didn’t say when the resignations would take effect.

The changeover of US attorneys is routine, but is often fraught with political overtones. In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked 46 Obama-appointed US attorneys to submit their resignations. A handful were allowed to stay on for a brief period, but most had to leave immediately.

* Press release…

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today released the following statement after it was reported that the Biden Administration will terminate John Lausch as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois:

“While we agree with the Biden Administration’s criminal justice agenda, we are disappointed with the decision to terminate U.S. Attorney Lausch without consulting us. In 2017, our non-partisan screening committee gave its support for Mr. Lausch to serve in this position, and the Senate confirmed him unanimously.

“While the President has the right to remove U.S. Attorneys, there is precedent for U.S. Attorneys in the Northern District of Illinois to remain in office to conclude sensitive investigations. We believe Mr. Lausch should be permitted to continue in his position until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, and we urge the Biden Administration to allow him to do so.”

In August 2017, the non-partisan screening committee set up by Durbin and Duckworth to assist them in evaluating candidates for vacant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Marshal, and federal judgeship positions in Illinois recommended Mr. Lausch to serve as the next United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He was unanimously confirmed by voice vote in the Senate on November 9, 2017.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Numbers matter - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 9:58 am:

    Bad move. But it won’t impact Com Ed case or any of the other investigations. The Madigan inquiry began under Zach Fardon and will continue beyond Lausch. Thanks to both of them for doing the right thing.

  2. - Pizza Man - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 9:58 am:

    I believe that is proper for both Sens. Durbin and Duckworth to have voiced their opposition of removing US Attorney Lausch while he continues to investigate sensitive matters. Yes, President Biden, is allowed to have his team.

    But he and his interim AG should consider who the next chair of the Judiciary Committee will be? hmmm…I’d ask for it; just sayin.

  3. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 9:59 am:

    I’m happy to see them both stand up for him, but I wish they would go a little farther and say that he needs to stay to finish the important work being done to clean up our state politics.

  4. - Cook County Republican - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 10:01 am:

    Elections have real consequences. While I think John Lausch is the best USA the Northern District has had, Biden won. Biden can do what he wants. He’s president. Burke and Madigan may never face legal consequences. It doesn’t matter what Durbin and Duckworth think (although I wish it would). There are new people in D.C. in control of investigations. Probably lots of smiling faces in Illinois today.

  5. - City Guy - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 10:13 am:

    It is surprising to me that the Biden team with years of experience didn’t know to check with Sen. Durbin, at a minimum.

  6. - Wake Up - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 10:18 am:

    Does anyone really believe that the Biden admin didn’t consult with Illinois’ two democratic senators before making this announcement? Biden and Durbin have worked together for decades. This release by Durbin and Duckworth is a CYA.

  7. - Reality Check - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 10:21 am:

    A good reminder that US Attys are political hacks just like the rest of us

  8. - Pizza Man - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 10:23 am:

    What happened to the old tradition of ‘Senatorial Courtesy?’

    Anyhow, it seems like Prez. Biden wants to do a re-do of what then-AG Sessions did to the Obama-era US Attorneys…

  9. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 10:29 am:

    Get out of here Lausch. There is a certain former federal prosecutor that wants his job back. /s

  10. - Kind Soul - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 10:30 am:

    Joe Biden won. Joe Biden is head of the Executive branch. He can fire who he wants at the top level of DOJ.

  11. - Ward Cleaver - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 10:35 am:

    Duckworth and Durbin are disappointed. Why do they feel Lausch’s work will not continue?

  12. - Amalia - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 10:38 am:

    Better safe than sorry.

  13. - Commisar Gritty - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 10:40 am:

    Completely disagree with the Senators here, though I respect and admire their work. Trump admin appointed so many absolutely clueless hacks who are just there to poison the well, I think a clean sweep is the best way to quickly and efficiently move forward.

    There are prosecutors and judges on benches that got their law degrees from the bottom of a cereal box, and their only qualifications prior were running far right or Federalist Society blogs. In this case, I’d rather lose 1 decent person while ensuring that 500 unqualified hacks and crooks are stripped of office than.

  14. - Here’s Hoping - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 11:01 am:

    John Lausch is a serious, top-notch prosecutor. I hope President Biden keeps him as US Attorney for our district.

  15. - Pizza Man - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 11:05 am:

    I agree @ Here’s Hoping on Mr. Lausch..

    @Commisar Gritty: “There are prosecutors and judges on benches that got their law degrees from the bottom of a cereal box..”

    Mr. Lausch is a Harvard (BA) and Northwestern Law alum.

  16. - Thoughts matter - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 11:11 am:

    Does asking for the resignations of all of them means that all of them are terminated? Or will the administration then accept only some of the resignations and choose to ignore others?
    Do they actually already have replacements lined up for every one of these resignations? In other words, is this possibly a power play of some sort??

  17. - Amalia - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 11:11 am:

    Law school no guarantee of integrity, let alone smarts…..Senator Cruz, Harvard Law, Senator Hawley, Yale Law, The Mooch, Harvard Law, Kayleigh McEnany, Harvard Law.

  18. - Merica - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    Pathetic virtue signaling from Durbin and Duckworth. It’s Biden’s prerogative, not yours. Biden came into office after an insurrection that threatened to overturn American Democracy, an insurrection that was aided by an FBI and justice department that gave white glove treatment to domestic terrorists. Durbin and Duckworth need to focus on trumps impeachment and making sure IL gets it’s fair share of covid stimulus payments, small business loans, and state funds

  19. - Scribler West - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 11:27 am:

    This is a big story. Durbin is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary. I hope Biden’t team has someone who meets Durbin’s standards.

  20. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 11:29 am:

    US Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President. There are plenty of good attorneys in the Chicago area that can fill this role. Lausch is not unique.

  21. - Masker - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 11:35 am:

    All or nothing. It leaves a bad taste in mouth when the only two left are pursuing trump.if that don’t speak of politics I don’t know what does.

  22. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 12:04 pm:

    So sorry to hear this. USDA Lausch was a person of Integrity and was doing a very good job.

  23. - Reality Check - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 12:37 pm:

    Joe was a Senator for a few years, wasn’t he? He’s doing Durbin and Duckworth a favor, giving them plausible deniability - “the President didn’t consult with me.” Now Durbin (and to a lesser degree Duckworth) gets to appoints a new US Atty. It’ll have little/
    no effect on the ongoing investigations. When it comes to handling Senators, Joe knows what he’s doing.

  24. - SouthSide Markie - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 12:45 pm:

    This seems to be much ado about nothing. By tradition, US Attorneys are usually asked to resign at the beginning of a new administration. The President then has the option to accept or reject the resignation. The effective date of the resignations appears to be consistent with allowing the President to make that decision. I agree that Lausch should stay. Given President Biden’s respect for Senatorial privilege, I think that’s likely. But if he doesn’t stay, it’s not like there aren’t competent assistants who have already been working on the current investigations. Moreover, the administration’s handling of the Hunter Biden investigation signals an intent to have a hands off policy on such politically charged prosecutions.

  25. - Amalia - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 4:07 pm:

    Remember when the finalists go around before were Fardon and Lightfoot? Lightfoot. Wow.

  26. - Essential State Employee - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 6:01 pm:

    =Law school no guarantee of integrity, let alone smarts…..Senator Cruz, Harvard Law, Senator Hawley, Yale Law, The Mooch, Harvard Law, Kayleigh McEnany, Harvard Law.=

    Also add Scott Drury, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. You know, the former federal prosecutor who didn’t get a special clock.

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