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White Men Comprise 85% of U.S. Attorneys Under Trump

The nation’s U.S. Attorneys have become less diverse under President Donald Trump than under his three predecessors, leaving white men in charge at a time of demonstrations over racial inequality and the fairness of the criminal justice system.

The Associated Press analyzed government data from nearly three decades and found a persistent lack of diversity in the ranks of U.S. Attorneys that has reached a low point in the Trump administration.

Eighty-five percent of his Senate-confirmed U.S Attorneys are white men, compared with 58 percent in President Barack Obama’s eight years, 73 percent during George W. Bush’s two terms and at most 63 percent under Bill Clinton.

White men lead 79 of the 93 U.S. attorney’s offices in a country where they make up less than a third of the population. Nine current U.S. attorneys are women. Two are Black, and two Hispanic.

Federal prosecutors can have a profound effect on the criminal justice system. Without a diverse group considering cases, bias can seep into charging decisions and sentencing recommendations, undermine federal leadership with state and local law enforcement and chip away at the perceived legitimacy of the justice system.

The imbalance leaves U.S. Attorneys looking less like the people they serve, and is in stark contrast to the population of federal prisons, where a disproportionate share of inmates are Black.

The gap is relevant in an era when state and local law enforcement are taken to task over decisions not to prosecute police in the killings of Black people. U.S. prosecutors can serve as a backstop in those scenarios by bringing federal charges.

See also: Cook County DA Kim Foxx: Prosecutors Must Confront Racism