Forty-six U.S. attorneys appointed by Barack Obama during his presidency have been asked to step down, including Preet Bharara, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, the Department of Justice says.
Also asked to resign were Paul Fishman in New Jersey and Robert Capers in Brooklyn.
It was initially unclear if Bharara's resignation would be accepted by the White House. The 48-year-old prosecutor, who is known as tough on insider trading and public corruption, was appointed to his job in 2009 by Obama and had been kept on as U.S. attorney after meeting with Trump after his election last November.
President Trump told Bharara at the time he planned to keep him on given his record, according to NBC News sources. It was possible Trump could choose not to accept Bharara's resignation.
But a White House spokesman and DOJ spokesman separately told NBC News late Friday the administration will accept all but two resignations, that of Dana Boente of northern Virginia and of Rod Rosenstein of Maryland. That means Bharara's will be among the resignations that are accepted, the senior White House official said.
Bharara wasn't commenting Friday.
Fishman said in a statement, "It has been the greatest professional experience that I can possibly imagine to have served in this office for the past seven and a half years... I am enormously grateful for the opportunity I was given to lead the men and women who work in this office."
Capers in Brooklyn said, "It has been my greatest honor to serve my country, New York City and the people of this district for almost 14 years, with the last 17 months serving as United States Attorney."
Many of the U.S. attorneys nominated by Obama's administration already have left the Department of Justice, as was the case in prior transitions, according to Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.
The 46 of the total 93 U.S. attorneys who were still in their posts were all political appointees. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked them Friday to step down "in order to ensure a uniform transition," NBC News reports.
Flores said, "Until the new U.S. Attorneys are confirmed, the dedicated career prosecutors in our U.S. Attorney's Offices will continue the great work of the Department in investigating, prosecuting and deterring our most violent offenders."
In a statement late Friday, New York Sen. Charles Schumer said he was "troubled to learn of reports of requests for resignations from the remaining U.S. attorneys, particularly that of Preet Bharara."
"While it's true that presidents from both parties made their own choices for U.S. attorney positions across the country, they have always done so in an orderly fashion that doesn't put ongoing investigations at risk. They ask for letters of resignation but the attorneys are allowed to stay on the job until their successor is confirmed," the senator said.
Schumer said that by requesting immediate resignations, Trump was "interrupting ongoing cases and investigations and hindering the administration of justice."