FITZGERALD’S FUTURE…. Given his sterling reputation, and his admirable work prosecuting political figures in both parties, it’s easy to forget that Patrick Fitzgerald is a Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney. And as everyone no doubt recalls, when a new presidential administration comes in, it replaces the previous administration’s U.S. Attorneys with a new slate of federal prosecutors. It means, in theory, Fitzgerald’s term is nearly up.
Given yesterday’s events, it’s a point of considerable interest: what’s Obama going to do with Fitzgerald? The speculation seems to overlook the fact that we already appear to know the answer.
There’s the New York Times:
Mr. Fitzgerald has said nothing about his future as Barack Obama prepares to assume the presidency, often an occasion for turnover among United States attorneys. But Senator Richard J. Durbin, the senior senator from Illinois and a Democrat, has publicly called on Mr. Obama to keep Mr. Fitzgerald on, and the betting is that he will remain in the job.
And the Politico:
[T]here is the question of Fitzgerald’s future . Presidents can appoint their own U.S. Attorneys, but Republicans aim to all but dare Obama to remove the crusading Fitzgerald before he’s done cleaning out corruption in Chicago and Springfield.
And Republican talking points:
Illinois state Republican chairman Andy McKenna pressed Obama to commit to keeping U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in his post until the corruption cases run their course…. “What he should do tomorrow is say, ‘Patrick Fitzgerald has a job and can have for as long as he wants,'” McKenna told Politico. “Some have wondered if Barack Obama would keep Fitzgerald [as U.S. Attorney]. It would be great if he confirms that he plans to.”
Greg Sargent contacted the Obama transition office, which noted that in June, the Chicago Tribune editorial board asked Obama if he’d keep Fitzgerald at his post. “I still think he’s doing a good job. Yes,” Obama said, adding, “I think he has been aggressive in putting the city on notice and the state on notice that he takes issues of public corruption seriously.”
Some reporters and Republicans seem to be asking a question that’s already been answered. Indeed, Obama has said what one assumes reporters and Republicans would want to hear.