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September 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: Senate Judiciary

President Obama Uses Recess Appointment to Install #2 Justice Dept. Official

James Cole/law firm

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Following months of frustration and opposition from Republicans, President Obama last week used a recess appointment to install James Cole to the number two spot at the Justice Department. On Monday, he was sworn in.

The post, deputy attorney general, has been vacant since February. Cole, 58, is a partner at the law firm Bryan Cave LLP since 1995. Republicans have raised concerns about his views on terrorism and his legal work representing the highly problematic American International Group.

Cole began working for the Justice Department in 1979 as part of Attorney General’s Honors Program and served there for 13 years. First he was a trial attorney in the Criminal Division and later he served as the Deputy Chief of the Division’s Public Integrity Section.

He entered private practice in 1992.

“I am pleased to welcome Jim back to the Department of Justice,” Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said Monday.  “He will be critical in our work to keep the American people safe, ensure the fairness and integrity of our financial markets, and restore the traditional missions of the Department.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Cole’s nomination in July.


Thomas Harrigan Rumored to be Front Runner for #2 Spot at DEA

Thomas Harrigan/dea photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON —   The rumor mill has  Thomas M. Harrigan, chief of DEA operations, as the  front runner for the number two spot in the agency, according to people familiar with the situation.

The number two spot was held by Michele Leonhart, who has been acting head of the agency, and has been nominated for the permanent spot by President Obama.  On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave  her nomination the nod. She must still be confirmed by the full Senate.

The DEA declined comment on Wednesday on the number two spot in the agency.

In the past several months, other names that have surfaced for the number two spot include Anthony Placido, chief of intelligence, and John P. Gilbride, head of the N.Y. DEA.  However,  Placido has now opted to retire.

John Gilbride

Harrigan, who joined the DEA in 1987, heads up all domestic and foreign offices as well the Special Operations Division, the Aviation Division, and the Office of Diversion Control. He was appointed to the post in 2008.

Gilbride was appointed head of the N.Y. DEA in 2005. Prior to that, he headed up the Detroit office.

DEA Nominee Michele Leonhart Finally Gets Hearing Before Sen. Judiciary

Michele Leonhart/dea photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Many may say it’s long long overdue.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing next week for Michele Leonhart, who was nominated to head the DEA on Feb. 2, according to the website Main Justice. Leonhart has been heading the agency on an interim basis since 2007.

The Nov. 17 hearing will also be for Stacia Hylton, who has been nominated to head the U.S. Marshals Service, Main Justice reported.

Many DEA agents have suggested the White House doesn’t care about the DEA and has been lax about  pushing for a confirmation hearing.

Sen. Judiciary Gives Nod to 2 U.S. Attys and 4 Marshals

Joseph Hogsett/law firm photo

Joseph Hogsett/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary on Thursday gave the  nod to two U.S. Attorneys and four U.S. Marshals.

The U.S. Attorney’s who passed that hurdle in the long process were Michael J. Moore (not to be confused with the filmmaker) for the Middle District of Georgia and Joseph H. Hogsett for the Southern District of Indiana.

The U.S. Marshals who got the go ahead included:

Michael R. Bladel for the Southern District of Iowa; Kenneth J. Runde for the Northern District of Iowa; James E. Clark for the Western District of Kentucky; Beverly J. Harvard for the Northern District of Georgia.

For Atty. Gen. Holder: With the Tough Job Comes a Little Glamour

Vogue Magazine
By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — It hasn’t been all glamour for Eric Holder Jr. as Attorney General. For one, there’s the less than friendly receptions on Capitol Hill from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who seem to enjoy grilling him like a burger at a 4th of July gathering.

Then there’s the  second guessing by the public, the political pundits and others on the Hill.

But there are times when the job does have some glamour.   Enter Vogue magazine. The magazine September issue has dedicated two-full pages of photos and then a two page write up on the guy it labels “Man of the Hour.”

Holder tells the magazine that the job is not easy. In fact, he shares, that his teenage son remarked that he doesn’t smile as much as he used to.

“You have a responsibility to keep the American people safe,” he tells the magazine. “It weighs on you. You literally go to bed and think, Have I done what I can?

He’s gotten grief over Gitmo, Miranda Warnings and the 9/11 trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But he tells the magazine he’s unfazed by the negativity.

“It’s the reality of being the attorney general,” he says. “When I am dealing with some congressman who is trying to get me to engage so that he can end up on television, I have to think, What do I want people to think about this department 50 years from now?”

And then he offers an interesting perspective on the law.
“The law is not always right. “It kept my people slaves for years, segregate African-Americans, and kept women from voting, but it’s the place you go. You have to have an inner compass that tells you the right thing to do. That’s what I tell the people who work for me. Trust your instincts. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s where yo need to look.”

As for ambition, the magazine quotes former Justice colleague turned D.C. Judge Robert Richter: “Eric was never a particularly ambitious person. His goal was to make a difference, not end up on top.”

His wife, a physician, isn’t so certain, the magazine writes.

“It’s a question I wonder about. When I roll back the time and ask, ‘Did I think I was marrying a nakedly ambitious man?’ I answer no, but, then again, he was a judge at 38. In his case, I think, it’s there; it’s just not particularly offensive.”

Sen. Judiciary Gives Nod to Deputy Atty. Gen. Nominee James Cole

James Cole/law firm

James Cole/law firm

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General nominee James Cole cleared a major hurdle Tuesday and got the nod from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the website Main Justice reported. The vote now goes before the full Senate.

The website reported that the vote was 12-7, along party lines.

Main Justice reported that GOP members had expressed concern about Cole’s support of terrorism trials in civilian court and his tenure as an independent monitor for insurance giant AIG, which was rescued by a Federal Reserve bail out.

“I’m concerned about Mr. Cole’s ability because in his position as Deputy Attorney General, he would be in a position to influence future compliance monitors appointed under settlements between Justice Department, [Securities and Exchange Commission] and other corporations that have violated the law,” said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), according to Main Justice.

Senate Judiciary Approves U.S. Attorneys for Tenn. and Ill.

Wiggington/law firm photo

Wiggington/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel

The Senate Judiciary Committee continues to chip away at confirming U.S. Attorneys around the country.

On Thursday, the commmittee gave the nod to Stephen Wiggington for the Southern District of Illinois and Edward L. Stanton III for the Western District of Tennessee.

To date, the panel has approved 59 U.S. Attorney nominees and the Senate has confirmed 57 of those, according to the website Main Justice, which closely follows the process.

Senior Administration Officials Privately Dismayed Over Atty. Gen. Holder’s Job Performance, Washington Post Reports

Atty. Gen. Holder

Atty. Gen. Holder

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The Washington Post is reporting that senior administration officials aren’t all that happy with Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr and have privately expressed dismay about his job performance.

The Post reports that administration officials have complained about Holder’s “tin ear in his decision-making and his public remarks.”

The paper went on to report that some people have predicted Holder might not last much longer in the job.

“But Holder has shown no signs of getting ready to leave, and he remains a close friend of President Obama’s, advisers said,” the Post reported. “If anything, his careful statements Wednesday seemed to suggest that he is adapting to the White House’s desire that he make less news.”

The information was included in a report on Holder’s appearance Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee where he was able to side-step some of the Republican committee members hostile questions.

He fielded questions about the delay in shutting Guantanamo Bay and said he expected Osama bin Laden would never be taken alive, the Post reported.

“If anything, his careful statements Wednesday seemed to suggest that he is adapting to the White House’s desire that he make less news,” the Post reported.

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