Attorney General Jeff Sessions has requested for the resignations of 46 U.S. attorneys, the Justice Department said on Friday evening.
"As was the case in prior transitions, many of the United States attorneys nominated by the previous administration already have left the Department of Justice. The attorney general has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed US attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure a uniform transition," Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said.
According to the New York Times, the "purge" came as a surprise, especially for Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, who had previously met with then President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower and told reporters that he had asked him about staying on.
But on Friday, Bharara received a call from acting deputy attorney general Dana Boente, instructing him to resign.
News of the firings came just hours after Press Secretary Sean Spicer had raised alarm about staffers within the administration working against the current White House.
"I think that there's no question when you have eight years of one party in office, there are people who stay in government --- and continue to espouse the agenda of the previous administration," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Friday.
He added, "So I don't think it should come as any surprise there are people that burrowed into government during eight years of the last administration and may have believed in that agenda and may continue to seek it."
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