Washington: Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked dozens of US attorneys appointed by former President Barack Obama to submit their resignations, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.
US attorneys are normally replaced at the beginning of new administrations. Out of a total 93 attorneys, 46 remain from the past administration, the department said on Friday. Sessions asked for the federal prosecutors to resign "in order to ensure a uniform transition", DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.
"As was the case in prior transitions, many of the US Attorneys nominated by the previous administration already have left the Department of Justice," The Hill magazine quoted Flores as saying.
The DOJ said career prosecutors in Sessions' office would continue investigations and prosecutions until the new US attorneys were confirmed. The call for resignations applies to all Senate-confirmed US Attorneys, including Preet Bharara, the Indian-origin US attorney for the Southern District of New York.
This comes as a surprise as Bharara reportedly met Trump after the election and agreed to remain in his position during the Trump administration. Sessions also asked him to stay, the prosecutor told The New York Times. Once the resignations are submitted, it would be Trump's decision on whether to accept all of them.
Meanwhile, Democracy 21, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Campaign Legal Centre sent a letter asking Bharara to investigate whether Trump had received payments or other benefits from foreign governments through his business interests, according to The Washington Post.
Under the "emoluments clause" of the Constitution, top officials are prohibited from receiving payments or favours from foreign governments.