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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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