WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House pushed the top federal prosecutor in Atlanta to resign before Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff because President Donald Trump was unhappy that he wasn’t doing enough to investigate Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
The Justice Department on Tuesday tapped a new federal prosecutor to lead the Atlanta office, a day after the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Byung J. “BJay” Pak, abruptly resigned.
Pak’s resignation drew attention because Trump appeared to refer to him in a recent phone call with Georgia’s secretary of state in which the outgoing Republican president asked state officials to try to “find” enough votes to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.
In a recording obtained by numerous media outlets, Trump appeared to complain during the call about Pak without naming him, saying there was a “Never Trumper U.S. attorney” in Georgia.
The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said that at the behest of the White House, a senior Justice Department official called and told Pak he needed to step down because he was not pursuing the voter-fraud allegations to Trump’s satisfaction.
The White House declined to comment while the Justice Department and Pak did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment on Saturday.
Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Jon Ossoff unseated Republican David Perdue in Tuesday’s runoffs, giving Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; additional reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Jonathan Oatis)