December 10th, 2008
03:55 PM ET
13 years ago

Schumer urges Obama team to keep Fitzgerald as U.S. attorney

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Schumer wants Fitzgerald to stay on."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the midst of a corruption investigation concerning Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the incoming Obama administration is being urged to keep veteran U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on the job.

Those doing the urging include Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, who sits on the Judiciary Committee. Fitzgerald's office is heading the politically sensitive probe which is likely to continue for months.

"The U.S. Attorney for Chicago has a deserved reputation of being totally non-political and totally on the merits and a tough and strong prosecutor, and I think leaving it in his hands is exactly the right way to go. And I think all... that President-elect Obama and his incoming administration have to say is
just that - we are going to leave it in Fitzgerald's hands because we have faith in him," Schumer told reporters Wednesday after he met with Attorney General Nominee Eric Holder.

U.S. attorneys are political appointees and serve at the pleasure of the president.

Schumer said he knew of "no intention to remove Patrick Fitzgerald" from his job but has not been told he will be retained by any Obama transition official. "I don't think there is any thought whatsoever of changing the U.S. Attorney in Chicago with these very, very troubling and important times," he said.

While the veteran New York Senator did say he thought the new White House should ask for all current U.S. Attorneys to resign - the common practice when a new president takes office - he said Fitzgerald should be told to stay on. Fitzgerald, who has said he is a political independent, has drawn bipartisan praise for leading fair and thorough probes and for not succumbing to partisan influences. His office has overseen investigations of both Democrats and Republicans, and he was appointed special counsel to investigate the leaking of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to the media.

That inquiry led to the indictment and conviction of then Vice Presidential Chief of Staff "Scooter" Libby.
The Bush administration found itself in the middle of a political firestorm after its decision in 2005 to fire nine U.S. attorneys without giving them exact reasons, leading critics to charge the actions were politically

Filed under: Charles Schumer
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Definitely, Fitz needs to stay!!

    December 10, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. MikeH

    Good Idea.

    December 10, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. Mavericky

    I concur.

    December 10, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. tiffany jackson

    Shumer is an idiot, Obama already said he would in a June 5th article

    December 10, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  5. Denver Dem

    Am I the only one that thinks Fitzgerald is a push over and useless as a US Attorney. People remember this is the same putz that allowed Cheney and Bush to walk all over him during the Valerie Plain investigation, and the best he could do was some purgery charges on Scooter Libbey, when the goal of the investigation was to get Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. We need a real ball-buster as a U.S. Attorney someone that will not be pushed around by political motivations. So to the comments on CNN, I full heartily disagree. Fitz is a putz.

    December 10, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. No Grandstanding

    And you Senator Schumer ... should do this type of urging in private ... not in public. I sure hope you are not attempting to be seen as relevant in the conversation about corruption in Illinois.

    December 10, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. Juan Grain

    I agree.

    December 10, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Yes, keep him on the job. Lock up the crooks...from both parties.

    December 10, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. Sherrol in Canada

    Looks like Fitzgerald is making his own case with the Blago fiasco.

    December 10, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. Penn Voter

    to replace him at this time would like an attempt to bury this issue

    December 10, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  11. Teddy Where

    Bill is not interested. Please come back tomorrow.

    December 10, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. He is another mole

    If he is who people thinks he is, then he could caught the real criminal mafias in the name of Cheney and Bush. Why go for the small fish while leaving the big one mr Putz?

    December 10, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. FreeNLovIt

    He needs to be kicked out. Obama, when U're in office, you will need to concentrate on the economy. U dont need someone like Fiz to breathe under you. He doesnt serve you. He serves the elephants.
    This is for all you facists on here who want to tie Obama to some jerk Illinois governor. This is just a partial list of Bush scandals. Halliburton's Corruption; Iraq's Decline; Abu Ghraib Prison Torture; CIA Pre-9/11 Intelligence; Failures; HHS Deceptive Ad Campaign; HHS Scully Scandal; Government-wide Accounting; Problems; Sex Education Misinformation; CAPPS II Failures; Real Costs of the Iraq War; US Attorney Firings; Walter Reed Army Hospital Neglect; Mishandling North Korea nuclear issue; Outing a CIA Agent; Lying to the American People; Hurrican Katrina; Warrantless wiretapping; Selling government to K Street lobbyists; Duke Cunningham, a corrupt politician steered money towards office supplies for Cheney; And there's much, much more.

    I'm sure to all of this you lying scandalous repugs would just say (in the words of your hero) "So"?

    December 10, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. FreeNLovIt

    Why is it that the DONKEYS always allow the attorney to dig dirt on them, but the ELEPHANTS do such a great job at stamping them out? Clinton/Monica drama was due to a weak attorney...

    December 10, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  15. David S.

    Can you imagine if Obama gives Fitzgerald the boot? Oh you know something is up then!

    Not even in office and already implications of illegal behavior, welcome to Washington Chicago politics. Gonna be a long 4 years.

    December 10, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. If Obama fires Fitzgerald---

    we'll know exactly where Obama stands in relation to Illinois and Chicago politics.

    December 10, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. chuck


    December 10, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  18. gil dupuy

    I think is the best...hope is here we us forever...the only one looking at for the american people

    December 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  19. Scott Tucson

    Chuck Shumer...involved in the fanny mae/freddic mac meltdown debacle along with Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, doing business as usual.

    December 10, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. Scott Tucson

    Chuck Shumer...involved in the fanny mae/freddic mac meltdown debacle along with Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, doing business as usual.

    December 10, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  21. Mike in AZ

    Denver dem.

    There's truth in what you say.

    December 10, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. truth hurts

    i give up on finding any one to trust.

    December 10, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  23. Rose

    No again! Let all the Bushes nominees go home. Anyone will do a great job. The repugs just want to go on and on with this BS!

    December 10, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. Rick

    Fitzgerald is a patsy for the Dems. He arrested Blago on Tuesday after Blago met with JJ Jr (candidate #5) on Monday. Fitzgerald should have let this go awhile and nabbed them both after the $1M pay to play. Instead, Fitzgerald shortcircuited the whole deal and now has nothing but a bunch of conversations, no actions. With a good lawyer, Blago will walk.

    December 10, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  25. Rachel

    Keep him and he keeps your name clean hun obama? hmmmm

    December 10, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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