As voters across the state take to the polls for a U.S. Senate runoff race, one top Georgia official unexpectedly handed in his resignation this week.
According to local reports, U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak, an appointee of President Donald Trump to Georgia’s Northern District, made the abrupt announcement on Monday.
“Thoughtful and consistent”
He had been expected to remain in office until Inauguration Day later this month.
While it is common for U.S. attorneys to leave office when a new administration takes over, something clearly caused Pak to exit his post early.
Calling it the “greatest honor” of his career to serve in the prominent post, Pak’s announcement indicated that he had strived to “be thoughtful and consistent” in his performance of associated duties “and to provide justice for [his] fellow citizens in a fair, effective and efficient manner.”
Pak went on to express gratitude to Trump and the senators who confirmed his nomination, as well as Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr for leading the Justice Department throughout his tenure.
Of course, his statement led to the obvious question of why he chose to resign just weeks before the end of Trump’s first term.
“Your never-Trumper U.S. attorney there”
According to Talking Points Memo, an internal document cited “unforeseen circumstances” as the impetus for his decision, though no additional details were available. The timing, however, has led to plenty of speculation.
Pak announced his departure on the heels of a conversation between Trump and Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, audio of which was released this week by the Washington Post.
During one portion of the roughly hour-long call, the Associated Press noted that Trump told Raffensperger that he has “your never-Trumper U.S. attorney there.”
While it appears that Trump had been referring to Pak in making the statement, it is unclear whether the decision had anything to do with the controversial call. Unless the outgoing U.S. attorney decides to offer more details about his resignation, Georgians will be left to draw their own conclusions.
Upon nominating Pak for the post in 2017, the Trump White House described him as one of several candidates who “share the president’s vision for ‘Making America Safe Again.'”