Biden says no ‘obvious choice’ for attorney general

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President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday there’s no “obvious choice” for attorney general in his mind as he works to cobble together his administration. 

The nominee to lead the Department of Justice (DOJ) looms as the most significant personnel decision Biden still faces. The president-elect has already rolled out a number of top Cabinet picks, including his nominees to lead the departments of Health and Human Services, State, Treasury and more, and Biden indicated he will look to ensure he continues to put together a diverse administration with his attorney general pick.

“As you know, there’s been a great debate about, in every single appointment, whether or not there are enough African Americans, enough Hispanics, enough Asian Pacific Americans, enough people who are new and young,” he told reporters at an event in Wilmington, Del. “So we’re just working through it. It’s not by design. There’s not an obvious choice in my mind.” 

Biden also has yet to announce nominees for several other senior DOJ officials beneath the attorney general, including the solicitor general and the chief of the DOJ’s civil rights division.

Among those rumored to be front-runners for the job are Judge Merrick Garland, who was denied a Senate hearing for his Supreme Court nomination in 2016, and Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who just lost his reelection bid. Both men are white. 

Biden’s pick to helm the DOJ will also face increased scrutiny after it was announced that the department is probing his son Hunter Biden over his business dealings. The president-elect has maintained that his attorney general will be able to conduct the DOJ’s business independently and that he has not broached the investigation with any of the contenders.

“I guarantee you I’m going to do what I said,” he said Tuesday. “The attorney general of the United States of America is not the president’s lawyer. I will appoint someone who I expect to enforce the law as the law’s written, not guided by me.”

“We’re looking for a team that will instill the greatest confidence in the professionals at DOJ to know once again that there is no politics. There’s no politics,” he added.

Tags doug jones Hunter Biden Joe Biden Merrick Garland

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