Donald Trump's critics are calling it the "Monday Night Massacre". That's a reference to President Richard Nixon's Saturday night sacking of his attorney general during the depths of the Watergate scandal of 1973, the last time top justice department officials were forced out by a president.
This time around is a bit different, however. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates essentially forced Mr Trump's hand when she ordered justice department lawyers not to defend the president's recent immigration order in court.
Mr Trump could not abide such defiance from an Obama Administration holdover due for replacement soon anyway. Once again, however, his White House team could not help but turn the rhetorical volume up to 11 in announcing the firing, accusing Ms Yates of having "betrayed" the justice department.
Ms Yates's move follows on the heels of a similarly extraordinary reaction to a letter, signed by more than 100 career state department officials, condemning the immigration action as un-American.
It's easy to imagine that this administration - just over a week in power - feels set against a Washington bureaucracy seeking to undermine it at every turn. If that kind of bunker mentality grows in the days ahead, this political bloodletting likely will be only the beginning.