January 14th, 2009
07:55 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama asks U.S. Attorneys to stay 'for the time being'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Obama has asked all U.S. Attorneys to "continue to serve for the time being" and is not demanding immediate wholesale resignations of Bush political appointees, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

In addition, Obama's transition team has asked current Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip, also a Bush appointee, to serve as Acting Attorney General replacing outgoing Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

Filip, a former federal judge from Chicago who has served in the number two position at the Justice Department for eight months, is expected to head the Justice Department until Attorney General designee Eric Holder is confirmed by the Senate.

The handling of U.S. Attorney departures is politically sensitive, after grumbling caused by the immediate firing of all but one U.S. Attorney by President Clinton when he assumed office, and outright anger over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys by the Bush Administration two years ago for what were widely viewed as politically-motivated dismissals.

Career Justice attorney Ken Melson, who was appointed by the Bush Administration to the political post of Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, will remain at least temporarily in the job which coordinates policies for all U.S. Attorney offices.

Among several other temporary holdovers in political jobs are U.S. Marshals Service Director John Clark and Acting DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. Career attorney Rita Glavin will initially lead the important Criminal Division as Acting Attorney General.

Several officials from the Clinton Administration are in line for positions in the Obama Justice Department.

Holder faces confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday and Friday and is widely expected to be confirmed despite pointed questions he is expected to face from committee Republicans.

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