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Biden Is Taking Forever to Pick His AG and It’s Making, Well, Everyone Anxious

Biden Is Taking Forever to Pick His AG and It’s Making, Well, Everyone Anxious

President-elect Joe Biden routinely criticized President Donald Trump during the campaign for turning the Department of Justice into his own “private law firm.” But with three weeks until his inauguration, Biden has yet to nominate an attorney general to lead the beleaguered department, just as it is set to investigate some of the most politically sensitive cases in decades.

“I don’t know,” Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. Attorney and senior Justice Department staffer, told The Daily Beast when asked why such a critical role hasn’t been filled yet. “I don’t doubt that Biden is sincere in his quest for DOJ independence, thank goodness. The current president made a mess in that respect, [but I’m] not sure why that quest, in and of itself, would slow down the selection process.”

By historical standards, Biden’s attorney general nomination is extremely late in the making. Trump nominated then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to lead the Department of Justice on Nov. 18, 2016, just 10 days after he won the general election. President Barack Obama named Eric Holder as his nominee on Dec. 1, 2008, one of his first top-level Cabinet nominations. Meanwhile, private chatter that the Biden transition would announce an attorney general nominee by Christmas has come and gone.

Some Justice Department veterans insist that the president-elect’s team is being appropriately deliberative. Given Biden’s condemnation of the politicization of the Justice Department during the Trump administration, thoroughly vetting potential AG nominees is a no-brainer.

“I think what we are seeing in the very deliberative process by the Biden administration in selecting a new attorney general is a recognition that this is an extremely consequential decision that will send a message to the country about how this president views the institutions of government,” said Robert Mintz, an attorney and former federal prosecutor who specialized in organized and white-collar crime. “This will not likely be a controversial nominee, but rather more of a consensus choice who can garner some bipartisan support.”

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