Wednesday, November 25, 2020

None of Biden's Cabinet Appointments Will Be More Important Than This One


I'm talking Attorney General, natch.

We need a person of the highest caliber to clean out and disinfect the Department of Justice from the Trumpian politicization pursued by William Barr. He who coddled Trump's buddies, dropping charges against Michael Flynn and intervening on behalf of Roger Stone. He who took the hint after Trump tweeted that people should "liberate" themselves from COVID-19 lockdowns in states and cities and who announced that the DOJ would formally begin reviewing and challenging state public health orders. He who approved of LGBTQ discrimination laws under a very capacious interpretation of "religious freedom" and who got himself into the Christian dominionists' neighborhood when he warned that “militant secularists” were behind a “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order.” He who actually asked Congress to give him the power to hold people in detention without trial indefinitely. That last one couldn't make it past a Democratic majority in the US House.

Gonna take a person of impeccable character, someone strong on civil rights and the protection of the weak, someone totally committed to voter enfranchisement, someone to whom favoritism or presidential interference causes a gag reflex. I've been reading about the leading contenders.

Sally Q. Yates
Former US attorneyShe was deputy attorney general (the official who actually runs the department) from 2015 to the early days of the Trump administration. Wikipedia: Following the inauguration of Trump and the departure of Attorney General Loretta Lynch on January 20, 2017, Yates served as Acting Attorney General for 10 days. Trump dismissed her for insubordination on January 30, after she instructed DOJ not to make legal arguments defending Trump's Muslim ban (Executive Order 13769). Yates thought the order was neither defensible in court nor consistent with the Constitution. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld a revised version of the travel ban in a 5-4 partisan decision.

Before she pushed back on Trump's targeting of Muslims, she had warned the White House that National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI and was acting as a foreign agent in very close proximity to the president.

In other words, Trump had plenty of reasons to fire her. All of which makes her a model of virtue.

Following her dismissal, Yates returned to private practice.

She comes from legal royalty. Her grandmother was one of the first women admitted to the Georgia bar. Gran worked side-by-side with Yates's grandfather, also an attorney. Yates's father was an attorney and became a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals for a long tenure (1966-1984). Yates herself, as a US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, prosecuted political corruption (of which Georgia had its fair share) and she became head of the DOJ's Fraud and Public Corruption division. She was lead prosecutor of Eric Robert Rudolph, the notorious Atlantic Olympics bomber who successfully hid out in western North Carolina for months. 

Bonus points: She'll be good on TV.

Doug Jones
There'll be sentiment to give him a job after his loss of his Senate seat in Alabama.

US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 1997-2001, during which time he successfully prosecuted two Klan members for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four Black girls. (It's generally accepted that it was the wave of voting by Black women that got him the seat in the Senate.) He also had a hand in the Eric Robert Rudolph prosecution. It was Jones who secured the indictment against him for domestic terrorism.

In 2018 Jones won a longshot candidacy for Jeff Session's old Senate seat in a special election, beating connoisseur of teenaged girls Roy Moore by two percentage points. He lost that same seat two years later, like everyone predicted he would, to a blockhead coach with very little clue. Roll, Tide!

Considered a "moderate," Jones voted for Trump initiatives about 35% of the time, but he also voted for the conviction of Trump at his impeachment trial. All things considered, he's probably a little less "blue dog" than Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Jones would also bring a Southern accent to TV and could be as effective on that medium.


William K. Black
Wikipedia: Lawyer, academic, author, and a former bank regulator. Black's expertise is in white-collar crime, public finance, regulation, and other topics in law and economics. Black was litigation director for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) from 1984 to 1986, deputy director of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC) in 1987, and Senior VP and the General Counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco from 1987 to 1989, which regulated some of the largest thrift banks in the U.S. He was a central figure in exposing Congressional corruption during the Savings and Loan Crisis.

According to Bill Moyers, "During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L's in exchange for contributions and other perks. Bi-partisan enough for you? The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating — after whom the Senate's so-called "Keating Five" were named — he sent a memo that read, in part, 'get Black — kill him dead.' Metaphorically, of course. Of course." 

Black became very outspoken on the criminality behind the 2008 crash and 2009 recession. Black asserted that the banking crisis was essentially a big Ponzi scheme; that the "liar loans" and other financial tricks were essentially illegal frauds; and that the triple-A ratings given to these loans were part of a criminal cover-up. President Obama declined to prosecute the banks while Black thought that trying to hide how bad the situation was would simply prolong the problems. He fingered Obama's treasury secretary Timothy Geithner as engaging in the cover-up and claimed that Obama's team did not want people to understand what went wrong or how bad the banking situation was.

Given that past criticism of the Obama administration, Black is probably not a leading contender, though his appointment would make the Bernie forces happy ... which in turn would make McConnell very dyspeptic.

William K. Black

Jeh Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security for Obama's 2nd term. Previously the General Counsel of the Department of Defense from 2009 to 2012 during the first years of the Obama Administration. He is currently a partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and a member of the board of directors of Lockheed Martin Corporation and U.S. Steel. Johnson is a 2018 recipient of the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award, has debated several times at the Oxford and Cambridge Unions and is the recipient of ten honorary degrees. In private life, Johnson has been a frequent commentator on national and homeland security matters on NBC, MSNBC, FOX, CNN, ABC, CBS and PBS.

Too corporate for me but probably not for Biden.

Deval Patrick
Former Governor of Massachusetts for two terms, and before that served as the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton. He ran briefly as a vanity candidate for president in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Xavier Becerra
Currently Attorney General of California since 2017. He previously was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing downtown Los Angeles in Congress from 1993 to 2017. Becerra was Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus from 2013 to 2017. 


Lisa Monaco
Federal prosecutor who was the Homeland Security Adviser to President Barack Obama, the chief counterterrorism advisor to the president. In this capacity, she was a statutory member of the United States Homeland Security Council.

Monaco previously served as the Assistant Attorney General for National Security from 2011 to 2013, and as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department. In 2017, Monaco became a senior national security analyst for CNN.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yates and Black would be my top picks for Bulldog-in-Chief.