An assistant attorney general in charge of defending the Trump administration against multiple Democrat-led investigations has announced his resignation effective next month, Law.com reports.
Jody Hunt, who served as head of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division, revealed the news just hours after he was named in a suit the department filed against former National Security Adviser John Bolton, according to the Washington Examiner.
The court filing aims to prevent Bolton from publishing a book the Trump administration claims contains classified information.
“Utmost respect and admiration”
As chief of the Civil Division, Hunt argued on behalf of the White House in a variety of cases, including challenges to the president’s proposed travel ban, the Examiner reported.
Hunt has been with the Justice Department for more than two decades and stepped into his most recent role in 2018 following a stint as chief of staff for ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In a letter to his colleagues, he announced he would be leaving the post on July 3.
“I have the utmost respect and admiration for you because I have personally witnessed the manner in which you have carried out your responsibilities,” he wrote, according to the Examiner. “And you are, after all, the greatest litigation force on [E]arth!”
“If the book gets out”
Hunt is not the only agency official stepping down in the near future. Brian Benczkowski, who heads the Justice Department’s criminal division, also recently announced his resignation.
The administration’s top lawyer, Noel Francisco, is also leaving this summer. The solicitor general has defended the administration in some of its most significant cases, including efforts to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, protections for undocumented immigrants who entered the nation as minors.
Hunt’s announcement comes with the added complexity of his inclusion in the lawsuit over Bolton’s book, which Trump addressed this week.
“I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified,” the president said, according to USA Today. “So that would mean that if he wrote a book and if the book gets out, he’s broken the law and I would think he would have criminal problems. I hope so.”
While Hunt’s letter did not provide a direct reason for his departure, the timing certainly leaves it open to speculation. As Bolton presses forward with his plans to publish his book on schedule, the controversy seems to be reverberating throughout the administration.