One might have also expected a louder outcry from former federal prosecutors as to the impact of such a massive purge on both ongoing cases and public perception. “The Trump Administration’s blanket decision exhibited a lack of thoughtfulness for the necessary transition of the most sensitive investigations being conducted around the nation,” wrote former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Collins. “Having US Attorneys lead sensitive investigations on Friday only to be effectively denied access to their offices on Monday sends a perverse – and unnecessary – message to the community.”
Other observers seem less indignant. “It’s not about sending a DOJ- specific message. It’s about loyalty administration-wide and the premium put on loyalty by the new president,” says Philip Khinda, a partner in the SEC and White Collar Defense practice at Steptoe & Johnson LLP. But political ideology notwithstanding, the persistent instinct of a chief enforcement officer is to enforce. That won’t change; it is therefore “foolish” for anyone to interpret the purge as a license to skirt the law, warns Khinda. Actually, he adds, interpreting the move as surely and selectively pro-business would be encouraged if Trump had fired, not 46, but just two or three U.S. Attorneys – whichever ones have, like Bharara (the purported “Sheriff of Wall Street”), gone after sensitive business interests in the past and would surely do so in the future.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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