Talks under way on hearing for attorney general nominee

The White House and lawmakers are working together to try to lay the groundwork for a hearing on the nomination of Michael Mukasey to be attorney general.

That is happening despite indications that the nomination might get tangled in a dispute over documents long sought from the White House by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. While it is not certain that Leahy's concerns will be addressed and that he will schedule a hearing, there appears to be a growing expectation that the nomination will be considered -- perhaps expeditiously.

One source with knowledge of the process said he expected a hearing in mid-October. The committee formally received the nomination Friday and sent Mukasey a standard questionnaire for nominees Monday.

Leahy has described his talks with the White House as productive, but has said little else since issuing a statement shortly after the nomination was announced. At the time, Leahy said the provision of "information and documents" previously sought from the White House might abet the nomination process.

"Cooperation from the Administration in making progress on our longstanding oversight requests is still needed and will be helpful in moving forward" with the nomination, Leahy wrote.

While declining to comment on what documents are being discussed, sources noted that it should not necessarily be assumed that White House communications related to the firings of U.S. attorneys last year -- the focus of a months-long standoff between Leahy and the White House -- are central to Leahy's demands.

White House Counsel Fred Fielding met with Leahy on Capitol Hill last week to discuss documents Leahy is seeking, and the two also have spoken by phone, according to one White House official.

"They have had some conversations and may have more," the official said. He emphasized that all discussions with Leahy about documents covering other issues are unrelated to the Mukasey nomination.

The White House continues to work carefully with Mukasey on the questionnaire and is expected to finish it soon, possibly by the end of the week. But, in what appears to be raising some eyebrows, the White House also has yet to forward to the committee the results of Mukasey's FBI background check, according to another source.

The administration is foregoing outside help in prepping and assisting Mukasey. Such assistance was provided for President Bush's Supreme Court nominees. Heading up the effort are Harold Kim from the White House legislative affairs office -- who previously served as a Senate Judiciary Committee aide -- and Bill Burck from the White House Counsel's office.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.