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Connecticut US attorney's future unclear under Trump

Published:Tuesday | December 27, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Donald Trump



The Connecticut US attorney is facing an uncertain job future as the presidency changes hands from one political party to another.

Deirdre Daly, the top federal prosecutor in the state, has held the position since 2014, when she was nominated by Democratic President Barack Obama and confirmed by the US Senate.

US attorneys are political appointees who, often, are called upon to resign when a new president of a different party than the last president takes office. It is assumed that the new president will want to install his or her own people into government posts, but that does not always happen.

It is not clear if Republican President-elect Donald Trump will want to replace Daly, given that he already has asked Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara to stay. Bharara, who agreed to remain, was appointed by Obama in 2009 and has won praise for taking on Wall Street and public corruption. Trump promised a return to "law and order" during the campaign.

Trump spokesmen did not return messages seeking comment.

Daly, who declined to comment for this story, also has targeted public corruption during her tenure.

Last year, she created the Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force to investigate corrupt officials and the misuse of public funds. Federal authorities in Connecticut currently are investigating whether the state Democratic Party illegally spent about US$278,000 on Democratic Govenor Dannel P. Malloy's re-election campaign in 2014. Malloy was an outspoken supporter of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"During the campaign, Trump talked a lot about clamping down on political corruption, illegal immigration," said William Dunlap, a professor at the Quinnipiac University School of Law. "It's really hard to know whether he's going to follow his drain-the-swamp approach and appoint somebody who doesn't have ties to the political establishment. I don't think it's even certain that he'll replace Deirdre Daly."

Daly's office also has targeted drug dealers amid a spike in overdose deaths, sought to improve community-law enforcement relations in the wake of fatal shootings of blacks by police, and aimed to crack down on hate crimes.

Last month, Daly sent out a Thanksgiving message of tolerance and cultural understanding, citing increased incidents of hatred and bigotry across the country. She said in the statement that people should reflect on the country's bedrock principles, "particularly after our highly contested presidential election". Daly is a registered Democrat, public records show.

Regardless of who the US attorney is, the office is not one that pushes political agendas, said Stanley Twardy, Connecticut US attorney from 1985 to 1991.