Slow Drip Massacre: Why?

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Slate's Dahlia Lithwick:

This kind of purge is legal but unprecedented. A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service revealed that since 1981, no more than three U.S. attorneys had ever been forced out under similar circumstances. And now we have six in a day? What's going on?

What sort of colossal error in judgment led the DOJ to can a bunch of perfectly loyal and capable prosecutors, name permanent "interim" replacements under a sleazy legal loophole, then publicly impugn those who'd departed with the claim that they'd been fired for "performance-related" reasons? Did they really think nobody would notice? That nobody would care? Does some incredibly cunning long-term objective justify the short-term fallout? Or was this simply a case of bumbling incompetence?