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High-ranking federal prosecutor in Georgia resigns, day after leaked Trump-Raffensperger call

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On Monday a high-ranking federal prosecutor in Georgia appointed by President Donald Trump resigned from his post, not giving much information surrounding his departure after less than four years on the job.

In his Monday statement provided by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak did not give much of an explanation as to why he was suddenly leaving his post after such a period of time, or what his plans are for after this. He thanked Trump for “the greatest honor of my professional career,” serving over three years as the top federal law enforcement officer for the Northern District of Georgia, which contains the Atlanta metropolitan area.

“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,” Pak said. “I am grateful to President Trump and the United States Senate for the opportunity to serve, and to former Attorneys General [Jeff] Sessions and [William] Barr for their leadership of the Department.”

Hailing originally from South Korea’s capital Seoul, Pak immigrated to the United States at the age of 9. From 2011 until his 2017 appointment by President Trump, he served as a GOP state representative in the Georgia House of Representatives.

On Monday at around 1 pm (Eastern Time), the online news site Talking Points Memo was the first to report on the memo from Pak released the same day in which the prosecutor cited “unforeseen circumstances” for his resignation.

TPM reports that Pak originally planned to remain on the job until President-elect Joe Biden‘s January 20 inauguration. Typically, incoming presidents replace U.S. attorneys appointed by previous administrations, just as with many other federal offices. Furthermore, U.S. attorneys normally serve out the entirety of their four-year term, making Pak’s departure odder.

Significantly, Pak’s resignation came a day after The Washington Post published a leaked phone call and its transcript it obtained between President Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), as well as their respective teams. During the call, Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse the state’s election results, which went narrowly for Biden even after three recounts. Trump and Raffensperger have repeatedly clashed publicly about the president’s claims that widespread election fraud occurred.

“All I want to do is this,” Trump told the swing state’s elections chief. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state.”

The Associated Press reported Monday that Trump, when discussing investigations into his allegations of election fraud during the call, referred to a “never-Trumper U.S. attorney” in Georgia. Whether Trump was referring to Pak with this comment is uncertain.

The president’s actions during the call have been heavily criticized by politicians on both the left and the right, saying it was wrong for him to pressure a state elections official after the results have been certified.

A pair of House Democrats on Monday, backed by others, requested that FBI Director Christopher Wray launch a criminal investigation into the phone call to look into possible election interference on Trump’s part.

During a Monday interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Raffensperger did not rule out the prospect that the Fulton County district—where the president has alleged ballots were destroyed and voting machines meddled with—could potentially launch an investigation into the phone call too.

On Sunday, Raffensperger and Trump clashed on Twitter about the Fulton County allegations.

“I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia,” Trump tweeted. “He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the “ballots under table” scam, ballot destruction, out of state “voters”, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!”

Raffensperger fired back at the outgoing president, saying: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out”.

Prior to serving in Georgia’s House of Representatives, Pak began his career in private practice, then in 2002 became the Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia and would serve for six years. While in this role, he prosecuted a diverse swath of cases that included drug trafficking, money laundering, intellectual property, and white-collar crimes, according to the DOJ’s Monday statement.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Economy

Michigan asks residents to house migrants, enroll children in school and help adults find employment

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Michigan is asking its residents to help with the mess its leadership created and house migrants in their own homes. The state Department of Labor and Economic Development said volunteers who participate must commit for at least 90 days as part of the refugee support program.

In addition to opening up their homes, sponsors are expected to support newly arrived refugees by greeting them at the airport, securing and preparing initial housing, enrolling children in school and helping adults find employment.

“Programs like the Welcome Corps advance the Office of Global Michigan’s mission to make Michigan the home for opportunity for our immigrant, refugee and ethnic communities,” said Poppy Hernandez, Global Michigan Director and Michigan’s Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. “Expanded refugee resettlement pathways empower more Michiganders to support our state’s growing refugee population and build a more welcoming and inclusive Michigan for all.”

The migrants will come from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, all points of origin where many have been hoping to apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Fox News reports “cities like New York and Chicago have also dealt with issues related to migrants committing crimes, as well as pushback from residents who have voiced anger and concern over the influx. Migrant shelters in those cities have largely been full, forcing officials to come up with ways to safely house the migrants.”

Last year, Massachusetts officials asked residents to open their doors as migrant shelters were full at the time. “Most importantly, if you have an extra room or suite in your home, please consider hosting a family. Housing and shelter is our most pressing need and become a sponsor family,” said Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll.

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