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New administration seeks resignations of 46 United States attorneys

U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III, chief federal prosecutor in the Middle District of Florida and a 2014 appointee of President Barack Obama, was asked to resign Friday by the Trump Administration.

"I did not resign", he said. The former US Attorney wrote that he'd been let go on his Twitter feed, which he only set up two weeks ago, perhaps in anticipation of this very moment.

Trump's request that Bharara leave came as a particular jolt because the attorney had met with the USA president shortly after his November election at Manhattan's Trump Tower.

When he was asked to step down Bharara had been overseeing probes into associates of New York's governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, as well as the administration of the city's Democratic mayor, Bill de Blasio. Acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente instructed 46 Obama-era appointees to resign on Friday, but Bharara refused and did not plan on resigning over the weekend either, according to The New York Times.

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He added that being the US Attorney for New York Southern District would forever be "the greatest honor" of his professional life.

He said that Bharara's "integrity, tenacity and commitment to rooting out wrongdoing - whether in the boardroom, the halls of government or anywhere else - will be sorely missed".

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said on Friday the forced resignations were necessary "in order to ensure a uniform transition".

Although it is customary for the 93 United States attorneys to leave their positions when a new President enters the office, the changes do not usually happen all at once.

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It is not unusual for USA attorneys to resign when a new president takes office, by choice or by order.

The Southern District of NY, the prominent post to which Obama appointed Bharara in 2009, includes the Manhattan and Bronx boroughs as well as neighboring areas just north of the city.

Tim Purdon, a former US attorney for North Dakota in the Obama administration, recalled Friday that President Barack Obama permitted Bush appointees to remain on until their successors had been appointed and confirmed, the Associated Press reported.

"The way the Obama administration handled it was appropriate and respectful and classy", he said.

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The dismissal of the USA attorneys drew condemnation from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who said in a statement that the move cast doubt on whether Sessions is interested in protecting the non-partisan work of federal prosecutors.



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