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. DF

    Not good. This guy is the architect of the Patiot Act, the CIA's extraordinary rendition policy and the latest "immigration" bill. Now he will become the chief judge and jury for our nation's attorneys general? Is it a mere coincidence that this is happening just in time for the 2008 elections?

    August 27, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    You have to wonder if history is repeating itself.........are we in the Nixon era all over again?? Back then, they had Vietnam....we have Iraq. They had scandals all over the White House, including Watergate...which landed the Attorney General in jail.....we have Gonzales, who is on trial, ready to wear his pinstripes....Are we that ignorant as to where we do not learn from our past mistakes??? All Bush has to say now is "I'm not a crook!" and the circle will be complete. Thank you America, for once a crook into the White House!!!

    August 27, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. l egoti


    August 27, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Dave, Miramar Beach Fl

    Great,Chertoff will do a good job protecting Americans as AG just like he did protecting New Orleans as the head of DHS during Katrina. Can this Administration come up with anyone who is a proven leader? Oops, I forgot, Bush ran them off because they told Bush the truth. Please God, make 1/20/09 come fast!

    August 27, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Patrick Kelly, Kansas City, KS

    In response to ReadBtwthlins.........I do not think that it's fair to say that appointing anyone after an election is a liberal, conservative, Democrat or Republican thing to do. Primarily, because everyone has done it. The difference between what the Bush Adminstration and it's p.o.s. Attorney General have done and what everyone else before them have done is that they fired staff because they weren't either nice enough to Republicans, or weren't going after Democrats enough.
    It's completely legal to replace federally placed judges and US Attorney's if they do not share your point of view, however, nobody who has replaced a judge or a US Attorney in the past has ever done it because they thought they'd be too tough or too weak based on political affiliations. That is, until the Bush administration, and that my fried seems to be a conservative problem.

    August 27, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. senn, manchester, nh.

    Didn't BillClinton fire all states attorneys when he took office?! What's the problem then?

    August 27, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. proud2bliberal

    Hey ReadBtwthlins:

    Now we know. All judges are to be fired upon entry of a new President, just as Clinton did.

    Its the liberal way..

    Posted By ReadBtwthlins : August 27, 2007 10:30 am

    Uh, it wasn't judges that were fired it was Federal Prosecutor's..getting your facts straight before posting a's the liberal way

    August 27, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. pl, at the UN, for a while.

    I am not American. I cannot vote. However, I have to align my sails to your voting preferences.

    It has been obvious for some time that President Bush is intent to re-position his party for the elections.

    His past confidantes have become stumbling blocks. The GOP says they must go; so they are shown the door, one by one, in rapid succession.

    This is election time, my friends, albeit 14 months in advance.

    August 27, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. indianapolis, in

    I think it's sad that he is going. CNN and other Clinton News Networks have been piling on Bush,et al for nearly 7 years now. First of all, we need the wire-tappings to keep us safe. The Patriot Act is a good thing. And secondly, have you forgotten that President Billy fired ALL 93 US attorney's upon taking office in 1993??

    August 27, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. elmerg, Colorado Springs, Colorado

    Yep, I want an AG who thinks with his gut, not his head...and boy, you can tell the Bushbots can't stay on script with this announcement, the resignation of senor torture, with their constant references to Clinton.
    You all are going to have a tough four years starting in 09 when another Clinton becomes Commander in Chief. Heads will explode!

    August 27, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Yvan,Indio,CA

    Replacing a bad appleby the New Orleans' fiasco Grand Master!!! please give me a break! Another Magic trick for King Georges W. Are you surprised of the incompetence of these people? Not me.LOL

    August 27, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. Tas, Suwanee, Ga

    It is amazing how our president has surrounded himself with crooks like Gonzales , Rumsfeld and Cheney to name a few. It just goes to show he is a crook himself

    August 27, 2007 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. MediaJunkie, Washington, DC

    Look. The president can fire the U.S. attorneys whenever he wants. That's his prerogative. But unlike most presidents in the past, Bush did it midterm and he didn't fire all of them so that raised some suspicion. Then instead of just saying it was the president's right to fire them, they had to bring in performance reasons, which turned into the debacle about political firings.
    Al also appeared to have perjured himself when he said Ashcroft was lucid at the hospital. That whole visit was rather despicable, politics aside.

    August 27, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. ducdebrabant, NYC

    Nominating Chertoff would be the most colossal impudence by Bush. This is the man who was Michael Brown's boss and was largely responsible for the governments disgraceful failures in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He's also continued the tradition at Homeland Security of questionable terror alerts at moments the GOP wants to distract the public from things like the federal judgeship scandals. Indeed, for that, this could be the payoff.

    August 27, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. Stephen, Tallahassee

    Lets get an outsider, that may be a hard thing for Republicans because it seems to be everyone is an insider now a days.

    August 27, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. John, New York, NY

    When it looks like a vulture, talks like a vulture, acts like a vulture and quite honestly moves around like a vulture, it's most likely Mike 'the Vulture' Chertoff. Famed for picking corpses.

    August 27, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Killing over a hundred thousand people in an unnecessary war is not an "unwarranted infraction" and neither are the hundreds of malicious acts that this administration has perpetrated against this country.It's time we call a traitor a traitor and oust these societal criminals and move on.

    August 27, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Dan Bernard, Portland, Maine

    How interesting that Chertoff's name translates from the Russian as "little devil."

    August 27, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Henry, San Antonio, TX

    I wasn't going to comment on this, but then I noticed the comments of our moral, intellectual leaders H. Reid, C. Schumer, T. Kennedy and J. Edwards, and just couldn't let it pass.

    As an Hispanic who didn't "come up through the ranks" on handouts from the Democratic Party, Alberto Gonzalez hardly had a chance. I thought he was a positive member of the Texas Supreme Court, and, although never as agressive as AG as I thought he should be, I thought he did a good job, but, frankly, don't blame him for resigning, although I hate to see an acting clown put in his place. While Demo House Rep Jefferson goes around with al least $100K in his pocket (or another freezer) Gonzalez can't even do something the White House has an absolute right to do. But, rest easy, because of his absolute admiration for Kennedy, Chertoff is most unlikely to get into any trouble.

    August 27, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Billy B./Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

    Anyone who still throws their support behind this mockery of a President, this sham of an administration, must be living life with blinder's on. Ask yourself, are you better off than you were 7 1/2 years ago? I'm betting not. Unless of course you are an executive of a major oil company. And anyone who believes that inflation is under control and that we are living in a great economy is kidding themselves. I work in the housing industry and I have seen my work go from a torrent to the current trickle, I pay more for my groceries, a fortune for my gasoline and electric bills and my savings is in decline. My credit card interest rates have soared through the roof and my nephew can barely afford to go to college. Yea, it's a REAL GREAT economy. My point on this blog is....Well, this has been a true confederecy of dunces and there has been incompetence on every level of this administration.

    August 27, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. Janet Lopez, Houston, TX

    What a joke! One Bush loyalist (like a personal servant) is getting replaced with another one. Now we will have all the colored terror alerts in the justice departments to scare american people. This bozo has saved Bush from embarrasment when he was serving as a judge in Texas. Follow the story from Dallas Times:
    "It is for good reason that Bush sometimes referred to Gonzales as " mi abogado" and kept him close by. In 1996, he helped then-Gov. Bush avoid jury duty where he might have been forced to reveal a 20-year-old charge of driving while intoxicated, which later surfaced anyway. Dozens of Gonzales memos to Bush supported the governor's desire to implement the death penalty in Texas."
    If it was not the action of this joker, Bush would have never seen the White House. That would have saved thousands of lives and trillions of wasted dollars. When can these right wingers learn who spent 15 years attacking Clintons and were blinded in seeing what is going on in their own backyards. Lets wipe out these Bush cronies in 2008 once for all and save this nation from disgrace.

    August 27, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. Mikey Boy Dayton OH

    There is probably a better candidate for Attorney General, since Mr. Chertoff has all the Katrina baggage and may not be seen as an effective leader. Katrina was a crisis, and the Justice Department (correctly or incorrectly) is seen as an existing crisis.

    I would hope that Bush nominates a credible AG that gets QUICK CONFIRMATION so Congress can get on with existing issues!

    August 27, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Anonymous, Miami, FL

    ...and why are we replacing him with this moran? Please explain?

    August 27, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    "gods Warriors" should be required viewing for all Americans.People need to know that theocracy is a far worse enemy to our species survival then any disease known.

    August 27, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Juliana Meehan, Bogota, NJ

    All I can say is "1/20/09"

    August 27, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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