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Channing Phillips to be DC acting US attorney, but Michael Sherwin will supervise Capitol riot probe

EXCLUSIVE: Channing Phillips will become acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, effective Wednesday, with current acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin transitioning to continue the “overall supervision” of the Capitol riot investigation “at the request of” the Justice Department, Fox News has learned.

Fox News obtained a memo Sherwin sent to staff at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C., notifying them that, “Effective tomorrow, Channing Phillips will take the reins as the Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.” 

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Phillips was the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia under the Obama administration and stayed in the post until September 2017. 

“In the wake of a nationwide pandemic shutdown, historic social unrest and upheaval, and the brazen assault of our Capitol on January 6, this Office has marched forward and remained the loadstar for all other Districts to emulate,” Sherwin wrote in the memo.

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Washington. Federal prosecutors are looking at bringing "significant" cases involving possible sedition and conspiracy charges in last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Washington. Federal prosecutors are looking at bringing “significant” cases involving possible sedition and conspiracy charges in last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)

Sherwin wrote that the office has “charged more than 330 cases related to the Capitol assault in just seven weeks,” saying it is “a pace unmatched in the history of the Department of Justice.”

Sherwin touted the office’s work prior to the Capitol riot and under his leadership, pointing to “truly remarkable cases,” including “the largest seizure of illicit Iranian petroleum in U.S. history; the largest cryptocurrency seizure in a terrorism case in Department of Justice History involving al-Qaeda, ISIL, and the al-Qassim Brigades; and the filing of criminal charges against Abu Agela Masud, the alleged Libyan bomb maker responsible for the terrorist attack that destroyed Pan Am 103, resulting in the murder of 270 innocent civilians over Lockerbie, Scotland more than 32 years ago.

“Further, our Superior Court closed more homicide cases from last year than in any year since 2013,” he added, touting “prosecutors, legal and office assistants, security personnel, intelligence assets” who “made this possible.”

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“We work here because want to make a difference in our communities, and all of you this year have done so and it has been a privilege working alongside you,” Sherwin wrote.

Sherwin, though, noted that “at the request of the Department, I have agreed to remain here in DC to continue overall supervision of the Capitol breach investigation and assist in the transition of these cases to new leadership.”

Fox News reported last month that President Biden’s Justice Department signaled it wanted Sherwin to stay on in some type of special prosecutor capacity to continue overseeing the Capitol breach investigation.

Sherwin’s resignation from the U.S. Attorneys Office in D.C. and his transition to oversight of solely the Capitol riot probes comes after the Biden Administration asked U.S. attorneys appointed by President Trump to resign from their posts by the end of February, with the exception of the prosecutor overseeing the tax probe tied to Hunter Biden, David Weiss of Delaware.

Special Counsel John Durham, who was the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, resigned from his post as U.S. attorney last week but will continue his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.

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