August 27th, 2007
12:10 PM ET
7 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. Duh-bya Cheney - DC

    He really looks like someone we all can trust. Not.

    August 27, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. JW Inland Empire, CA.

    Hopefully the individuals that hired Gonzales ( Bush, Cheney, etc... ) will take the hint.

    August 27, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Keven Bennett

    The last minute update on his not getting the nod from Bush is good news.

    There is NO WAY any individual who blamed the Katrina victims for their own demise should EVER serve in public office.

    Chertoff should be next in the endless train of officials to quit and join the Neoconservative Boys and Girls Choir singing:

    "Mistakes Were Made"

    If Bush can't put up an independent, NO nomination should be confirmed!

    August 27, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Steve Dru, Park Ridge, IL

    It's about time Gonzales resigned. Unfortunately, we probably found one of the few people even less qualified to be the attorney general than he was to replace him.

    August 27, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Aaron, Galesburg, IL

    As unfortunate a choice Chertoff could be worse, far worse. I'll take him over others. I'm more worried about who would replace Chertoff as Homeland Security Director.

    August 27, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |

    The rats are jumping from the "Good Ship Georgie Boy" faster than you can count!Gonzales was the "go to guy" when the Bush Administration wanted to get over,around,under or through the laws of this great country to pursue their criminal regime.He,like Powell,Tennet and so many others,was played by Cheney/Bush like a cheap violin!Now they all want to get as far away as they possibly can when this criminal administration finally goes up in flames.The only sad thing is that they will never be prosecuted for their crimes!

    August 27, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. tim buck, houston, tx

    Good riddance; he was never a good enough attorney or an independent enough person for the job.

    August 27, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Bob Winchester Va

    Chertoff excellent idea for Attorney General! He knows nothing about Homeland Security ,get him to a place where his legal experience can be used!

    August 27, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Raymond DuVall, Yelm, Washington

    One loyalist for another. The American public needs to look beyond the nomination to the "why" he was nominated. Possible reasons could be the continued politicization of the Justice Department, or to prevent ugly facts from wiretapping and surveillance programs from coming out before the administration leaves office? Whatever your pet conspiracy theory is, you should stop, listen, think and then voice your opinion to your congressional leaders. Maybe we will get someone competent rather than someone put there because of political reasons.

    August 27, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. John, Janesville WI

    I see Michael Vick will be unemployeed soon. Maybe he can take over Homeland Security. His recent experience with the law may make him over-qualified to head the justice department.

    August 27, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Deb, Colorado Springs,CO

    One "good ole boy" replaced by another. Can't we get someone that is credible?

    August 27, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Bill, Burke VA

    Look for it to be Larry Thompson

    August 27, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. John Frilando, Long Island, NY

    I voted for Bush twice but I cannot think of a worse choice for AG than Chertoff. In my opinion he has weakened this nation as head of Homeland Security and would bring absolutely no credibility to the damaged AG's office.

    August 27, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Ed, Winston-Salem NC

    1/20/09 cannot get here soon enough!!

    August 27, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. claire, cincinnati OH

    Gee what a surprise! Here's another example of Bush thumbing his nose at and sticking it to the American people.

    August 27, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Ed, Winston Salem NC

    Sheesh! 1/20/09 cannot get here soon enough!

    August 27, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. John Raggio , New York, NY

    He did exactly what Congress always does. Exert every ridiculous alternative until they ultimately do the right thing

    August 27, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Sean Moore, Hollis, NH

    Chertoff was responsible for the Hurriance Katrina fiasco. If he can't handle domestic issues like the Hurricane Katrina response and recovery, why are we continuing to put him in positions of responsibility?

    August 27, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. Susan Meyers, Macedon, New York

    Regarding your update: at least Bush seems to be getting quicker at realizing his choices for cabinet posts aren't going to pass muster with congress. Look how long it took for Harriet Meiers to get the sack.

    Of course Chertoff could be a ploy and the person he nominates next could be even worse! Isn't Jeb looking for work?

    August 27, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. Nancy, Surprise, AZ

    What do you expect..........Bush is told by Cheney what he can and cannot do, so it is no surprise that Cheney would replace Gonzales, the liar, with another incompetent liar, Cherthoff.

    August 27, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Carl Jaekel, New Albany Ohio

    Sounds like another political appointee of a life-long political hack. Good grief, he serves the intrests of the prevailing political establishment, not the American people. Send him home!

    August 27, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Ellen Tampa, FL

    How sad that we as a nation can do no better at 'hiring' an AG than Chertoff. So goes the way of this current administration - if he's a Buddy of Bush (BoB)he must have just the right level of social incompetence, professional larceny and endless irresponsiblity as well as NO short or long term memory. Please tell me that the American people will REMEMBER this when it comes time to go to the polls in '08!!

    August 27, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. Willy D (Dee)

    I don't like him, but can't be any worse than the Clinton ERA.

    August 27, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Jane Doe Mpls, MN

    I'm so surprised....
    Do you really expect a good, honest, thoughtful decision from these people?
    I expect less than nothing and haven't been disapointed. My biggest disgust comes from the fact that this administration actually thinks we all buy the spin they perpetrate on the American public or the world. Bush actually thinks he's a smart man....

    August 27, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Jan from Wood Dale, IL

    Michael Chertoff has done a dismal job as Homeland Security Secretary. Our borders and ports are still unprotected. Airline employees are only randomly checked by security, and background checks on employees are not mandatory. New Orleans is still a disaster, with the lack of hospitals, schools, and housing for its residents. And though the levees are being rebuilt, they are not being built better.

    With Chertoff's lack of concern for American citizens, how could the President, or anyone, think Chertoff would be effective as the next Attorney General in upholding the Constitution, and the rights of all the citizens.

    August 27, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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