Recess appointee for deputy attorney general, James Cole, sworn in
January 3rd, 2011
03:12 PM ET
12 years ago

Recess appointee for deputy attorney general, James Cole, sworn in

Washington (CNN) - Veteran Washington attorney James Cole whose nomination was blocked by the Republican Senate last year was sworn in as deputy attorney general Monday, less than a week after receiving a controversial recess appointment from President Obama.

Cole was sworn in by Attorney General Eric Holder at a private event in the Attorney's General's office in the Justice Department. A few dozen guests including Cole's family and associates from Holder's staff and Cole's new office were present for the oath-taking.

Holder issued a statement commending his new deputy, saying he would "ensure the fairness and integrity of our financial markets and restore the traditional missions of the Department".

Cole was appointed after the Senate had recessed for the year, thus circumventing GOP opposition to the nomination which had lingered for months. Republicans have cited his role in representing the insurance company AIG which received a government bailout, and his statement on the 9/11 attack by Islamic extremists as an act of criminals rather than warriors.

Cole worked for the Justice Department in the 80's and early 90's prosecuting public corruption and white collar crime, before joining a Washington firm.

While in private practice, as a Special Counsel to the U.S. House ethics committee, he led the probe of then Speaker Newt Gingrich for use of tax exempt funds for political purposes. Gingrich was sanctioned by the House and forced to pay penalties.

Cole replaces Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler who had been filling the powerful number two post on an interim basis. The Deputy Attorney General oversees day-to-day operations of the Justice Department and its law enforcement agencies.

Cole will fill an important role that Grindler could not because of his "acting" status. Cole will be able to sign off on secret government requests to judges for surveillance of suspected terrorists and spies. Holder has had to sign hundreds of such requests in the past year while awaiting Cole's arrival.

Filed under: Eric Holder • Justice Department
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. gt

    this group of thugs will do anything ..... but those days of endless spending is coming to a scraching hault... just in time...

    January 3, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Eat it GOPers. Obama has used the recess appointment so much less than the past 5 presidents that it's not even remotely legitimate for you to be flinging your partisan turds right now. Shut up, grow up and suck it up.

    January 3, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Marcus

    There are many people, in both GOPers and Dems presidencies in the past, who had their nominations held for months or even years by folks of 'the other side' for pure ideological positions (aka, 'he/she don't thinks like us so he/she is not qualified for the job'), and were appointed using this little legal trick.
    As long as he does not acts like John Bolton... fine by me.

    January 3, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    That is one of the sneaky things the idiot has done. Enjoy your high gasoline prices, Obama cut back off shore drilling by 13%. Enjoy you check, did you notice your medical rates went up? You are covering the drug addicts and products of the NEA that make up the Obama supporters. Yessir that is one corrupt president we got.

    January 3, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    More Obama skirting the process, to do as he pleases.

    January 3, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    GOP's Saint Reagan – 243 recess appointments (2 terms...approx. 121 per term)
    George H.W. Bush – 77 recess appiontments (1 term)
    Clinton – 140 recess appointments (2 terms...aprox. 70 per term)
    Dubya – 171 recess appointments (2 terms...approx. 85 per term)
    Obama – 28 recess appointments (1/2 term...on track for 56 per term)

    Now, add in that because of GOP filibusters, "holds" and procedural nonsense, Obama's nominees have faced unprecedented history-making opposition, resulting in 79 of his nominees still awaiting confirmation hearings at the mid-term (Dubya had 6 awaiting hearings at mid-term to give you some perspective), and history-making waits between their nominations and confirmation hearings (that's the hearings, not even confirmation or swearing in), and what you really have here is the GOP creating a sort of self-fulfilling, self-serving situation where they force the POTUS to make necessary appiontments during recess and then complain as though he's behaving in a dictatorial manner...despite his use of the recess appointment falling far below that of any POTUS in 40+ years. You conservative pantwetters can shove it.

    January 3, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Pennsylvania Super Patriot Deluxe


    i guess you were alseep or in a drunken binge for most of the decade when the Rethugs were running up the debt and having their own recess appointments. way to keep your eye on the ball there jack daniels.

    January 3, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    What it's all really indicative of is the GOP's inbred policy of "if we don't get to own and rule America, then nobody gets an America." They are intentionally hamstringing Obama's attempts to govern and establish any semblence of an efficient, efficacious administration and executive branch. They essentially want to take their ball and go home because they don't get to make all the rules, make them in their own favor and then declare themselves the winners. This has been their plan and their approach from the get-go: destroy Obama and to hell with the damage it causes to the institutions of government, our regulatory bodies, our ability to enforce the laws and oversee the instrumentalities of commerce or those using them, or even the populace in general in the meantime. They want one thing and one thing only...for eveyone to suffer and blame Obama and the Dems while they maintain open slots they can fill with their puppets in 2012 when they believe they will take back the WH and control Congress.

    January 3, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |