August 27th, 2007
12:10 PM ET
8 years ago

Senior admin. officials: Chertoff may get nod

Chertoff may be nominated to succeed Gonzales.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush may nominate Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, senior administration officials told CNN Monday.

Chertoff, 53, previously sat on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which handles appeals from New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the Virgin Islands.

Before becoming a judge, he was assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice's criminal division from 2001 to 2003.

Chertoff received his law degree from Harvard University and was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William H. Brennan Jr. in 1979 and 1980. He first stepped into a prosecutorial role as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1983 to 1987.

From there, he moved to the District of New Jersey and was assistant U.S. attorney from 1987 to 1990 and U.S. attorney until 1994.

Between 1994 and 1996, Chertoff was counsel to the GOP Whitewater committee investigating the business dealings of President Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton, who is now New York's junior senator and a candidate for president of the United States.

An independent counsel later determined that the Whitewater investigation did not uncover sufficient evidence to warrant any criminal charges against the Clintons.

As a senator, Mrs. Clinton cast the only vote against Chertoff when he was nominated for the appeals court in 2003.

UPDATE: A Senate aide with close connections to the Department of Justice tells CNN's Dana Bash Chertoff will not be the president's choice to replace Gonzales.

Filed under: Alberto Gonzales • Michael Chertoff
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. Jorge, Dayton, OH

    Two words...

    New Blood!!!

    When will these neocons (i.e. Liberals) learn???

    August 27, 2007 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Why would we want him in office when he so badly handled Hurricane Katrina.

    August 27, 2007 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  3. Olf, Brookfield, Ct

    ....And that makes sense because???

    August 27, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  4. bubba, washington dc

    Chertoff is a good choice...he already has a good supply of chapstick!

    August 27, 2007 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  5. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Yeah there's a bright one.Put the loyal hack with his wonderful tenure at the dep. of homeland stupidity in charge of the justice department.Who's going to screw up the next Katrina?Jeb maybe?

    August 27, 2007 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  6. Dan, Worcester MA

    I'm not really sure how replacing one failure with another is going to help matters.

    August 27, 2007 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. CM Orlando, Florida

    Oh great. One Bozo to replaced by another Bozo. Well what do you expect from the Bozo in charge.

    August 27, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. Lawrence Mannino Cutchogue, NY

    Seems like an important position to fill – might want to at least look over a few resumes, maybe drop a 'help wanted' ad in the local paper before shotgunning someone into the position? Maybe someone qualified for the job might...ahh forget it!

    August 27, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. Gerald Scheel

    So another rat abandons the sinking ship. What about we passengers? Is there a single decent officer in the entire crew who can organize the manning of life boats?

    August 27, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. C.LyOns, New York, NY


    August 27, 2007 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  11. Bea, Peabody, N.J.

    Excellent choice. Secretary Chertoff handled the presecution case against Z. Moussaioui in an exemplary way. We need strong leadership to keep our country safe from terrorists.

    Alberto Gonzales was a great representative as well, and showed a strong face of leadership in light of Democrat's repeated "which hunts" to get at anything or anyone connected to the President.

    August 27, 2007 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  12. roy barnes, cody, wy

    Great. Bush wants to replace one amoral Nazi with another.

    August 27, 2007 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  13. Tony, Apalachin, New York

    From the frying pan into the fire.

    August 27, 2007 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. rashum, baltimore, md.

    If Gonzales were a Democrat, the press and liberals would be crying racism against Hispanics. If the AG was black, the Revs. Jackson and Sharpton would be rallying around, crime or no. Gonzales didn't committ any crime, and may I remind people that Bill Clinton fired MORE attorneys than the President. And may I say again, Attorneys General serve at the pleasure of the President- THEY ARE AN APPOINTMENT position.

    August 27, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  15. A.H. -- Omaha, NE

    Why don't we look forward instead of looking back. Hope the President gets someone in the Attorney General position who will take terrorism more seriously. Maybe Clement.

    August 27, 2007 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  16. Brenda

    Why? Have we not learned from Katrina.......
    Why is he still employed by ther US Goverment?

    August 27, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. Kevin, Largo FL

    I don't know much about Chertoff but he is easily more qualified than Gonzales per his resume. Maybe now we can move on to the enforcement of our country's laws instead of the partisan application of law that has existed for the last 6+ years. I hope this country can recover from the liberties taken with liberty under this administration.

    August 27, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. Bill, Toledo Ohio

    Replacing one yes man with another yes man!
    Can America survive another 16 months of this sad circus?

    August 27, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    I think "which hunt" says it best.Those kind of endorsements illustrate why Chertoff would be a failure.We need people to be chosen by intellect,not loyalty to a failed ideology.

    August 27, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. Anonymous, Virginia, USA

    Chertoff has blood on his hands.

    August 27, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  21. John, Guam

    Bea – obviously a wise comment from a wise person. That being said – it's "witch" not "which." You'd fit well in public office in this administration with grammar like that.

    August 27, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. Rigel, Miami, Florida

    I saw Michael Chertoff interviewed by Ted Koppel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Ted Koppel was in sheer disbelief as Chertoff did not budge from his talking points and did not acknowledge the devastation around him. Finally Koppel suggested he simply turn on his TV. Chertoff was unfazed. No one will find out anything about what has happened at Justice with Chertoff as Attorney General. He is a master at obfuscation and spin. His appointment would be a disaster for Justice and truth.

    August 27, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. Chris B, Atlanta, GA

    I am continually amazed at this administrations blind and destructive loyalty to incompetent cronyism. Why would we replace one failure with another? Oh well, guess when one consider's the source of that decision, that question becomes mute. Gonazalez has been an embarassment to this country and to the judicial establishment since he got Bush out of jury duty to keep his DUI from becoming public knowledge. The time for his to step down is WAY over due. And for those of you who still seem to support him and this administration, spouting off "Witch Hunt" as the new GOP talking point? Where were you when the Clintons were being investigated for years and the only thing they could come up with was a lie about a marital affair. Give me a break already! Hypocricy seems to be an epidemic with these neo-cons.

    August 27, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. Jeff, Tell City, IN

    While Chertoff is certainly qualified, I'm not so sure he (or anyone else who has been kicked around for the job) is what I'm looking for. I'm looking for someone who will not be the President's jockey to be taken for a ride everytime someone affiliated with the White House is on the chopping block. Again, this is another example of how nothing ever changes in Washington and why most people really don't care who has the job.

    August 27, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. A. Frank Panella Jr. Valrico, FL 33594

    Based on the past management of Homeland security. Replacing Gonzales with Chertoff is like replacing Twiddle Dee with Twiddle Dumb.

    August 27, 2007 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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