White House pressured Atlanta’s top federal attorney to resign, according to WSJ report

ATLANTA — White House officials pushed Atlanta’s top Federal prosecutor to resign because President Donald Trump was upset about Georgias election results, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday night.

Sources told the newspaper that Trump pressed U.S. District Attorney Byung J. “B.J.” Pak to resign before the twin Senate runoffs in Georgia. Trump was upset because he believed Pak was not doing enough to investigate the president’s baseless claims of election fraud.

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A senior Justice Department official made the call, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Channel 2 Action News reached out to both the White House and Pak, and both declined to comment.

Pak resigned abruptly on Jan. 4, a day before the runoffs, saying in an email that he was resigning due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

It’s not unusual for U.S. attorneys to leave their posts as presidential administrations change. Pak’s announcement Monday, however, was notable because it came a day after recordings of a telephone call became public in which President Trump, who nominated Pak for the position, appeared to suggest that Pak was a “never-Trumper” — a term often used for conservative and Republican critics of Trump.

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“You have your never-Trumper U.S. attorney there,” Trump is heard saying during the call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican. Trump suggested during the call that Raffensperger might find enough votes to reverse the outcome of the presidential race in the state — an idea Raffensperger rejected.

Pak has been the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Northern District of Georgia for three years. The district consists of 46 counties in northwest Georgia and has offices in Atlanta, Rome Gainesville and Newnan.

Pak was also a Republican state lawmaker from 2011 to 2017. He had previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 2002 to 2008 and was working in private practice at the time of his appointment. At the time, he was among U.S. attorney nominees said by the White House to “share the president’s vision for ‘Making America Safe Again.”

Pak has been the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Northern District of Georgia for three years. The district consists of 46 counties in northwest Georgia and has offices in Atlanta, Rome Gainesville and Newnan.

“It has been the greatest honor of my professional career to have been able to serve my fellow citizens as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia,” Pak said in a statement. “I have done my best to be thoughtful and consistent, and to provide justice for my fellow citizens in a fair, effective and efficient manner. I am grateful to President Trump and the United States Senate for the opportunity to serve, and to former Attorneys General Sessions and Barr for their leadership of the Department.”

Pak was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the U.S. when he was nine years old. He lives with his family in Gwinnett County.

In addition to being a U.S. attorney, he served as a state representative in Georgia from 2011 to 2017.