Kenneth Polite says he is already out as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, two weeks earlier than he had planned and previously announced.
He also definitively ruled out any run for public office this year as rumors swirled that he could enter the race to replace Mitch Landrieu as mayor of New Orleans.
Polite announced his resignation Friday, just hours before the Trump administration ignited a firestorm by directing the remaining appointees from the Obama administration to resign. Polite said he had no idea Attorney General Jeff Sessions was going to order him and other Obama appointees to resign when he turned in his initial resignation around 11:30 a.m. Friday. His resignation letter informed the Justice Department that he would stay on through March 24.
Instead, Trump’s Justice Department called and instructed Polite he had to send a new letter making his resignation effective immediately Friday.
Polite tells WWL-TV that he received a call Friday evening from Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, who had served as interim U.S. attorney in New Orleans before Polite was appointed by Obama in 2013. Boente served as top prosecutor for the Eastern District of Louisiana for about nine months after Jim Letten, a holdover from the George W. Bush administration, was forced to resign in December 2012 amid an online commenting scandal.
As for his own political aspirations, Polite said he was flattered by speculation that he could run for mayor, be he is "ruling it out entirely." He wouldn't rule out a future career in politics but said he values his independence and wouldn't want to mount any bid for public office without the financial wherewithal to maintain that independence.
Polite’s former first-assistant U.S. attorney, Duane Evans, is now serving as acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.