With the resignation of Dana Boente on Friday as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, President Donald Trump has an opportunity to replace another Obama-era holdover in the Department of Justice line of succession. If Trump demands that the department fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and if enough officials resign or get fired rather than carry out his order, the decision to do so could fall to Boente’s successor.
As Attorney General Jeff Sessions has told the Senate Judiciary Committee, Trump has been interviewing candidates for some of the 93 open U.S. attorney positions. Democratic lawmakers and legal analysts have claimed his involvement in that process is inappropriate. But the Eastern District of Virginia role is especially important, thanks to an executive order that Trump signed in March.
The order altered the line of succession at the top of the Justice Department. The order includes three U.S. attorneys, meaning that making departmental decisions such as whether to fire Mueller could fall on one of them.