The short version of how the Justice Department operates is that the attorney general lays down policy and 93 US Attorneys around the nation implement it. But the Washington Post reports that current AG Jeff Sessions has an unusual situation three months into the new administration: He has yet to fill a single one of those 93 positions. "We really need to work hard on that," said Sessions on Tuesday. About half of the Obama administration attorneys resigned when President Trump took office, and Sessions ordered the holdovers to quit last month. None have been replaced, though Sessions suggested the acting federal prosecutors in place will do fine until that happens.
"There are human beings occupying each of those seats," says a skeptical Ronald Weich, a former assistant attorney general who is now dean of the University of Baltimore's law school. "But that’s not the same as having appointed and confirmed officials who represent the priorities of the administration." Complicating matters is the fact that Sessions doesn't have his No. 2 in place—the deputy AG is traditionally charged with shepherding the selection of federal prosecutors—though nominee Rod Rosenstein is expected to be confirmed by the Senate this month. Sessions, meanwhile, plans big changes in how those prosecutors will handle cases, including tougher enforcement of immigration laws. That includes stronger penalties for transporting and harboring undocumented immigrants, Fox News notes. (Read more Jeff Sessions stories.)