AG Appoints Members to AGAC

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on November 13, 2017, the appointment of nine new U.S. Attorneys to serve two-year terms on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys (AGAC). AGAC was created in 1973 and reports to the Attorney General through the Deputy Attorney General. AGAC represents the U.S. Attorneys and provides advice and counsel to the Attorney General on matters of policy, procedure, and management impacting the Offices of the U.S. Attorneys.

“I am pleased to announce the first members of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee under this administration. These U.S. Attorneys will play an important role in carrying out the Department of Justice’s mission to reduce violent crime, combat transnational criminal organizations, secure our southern border, end the devastating opioid crisis, and return to the rule of law,” said Attorney General Sessions.

The Department’s press release contained the following brief bios on each nominee:

Richard Moore (Chair)

The Senate confirmed Richard Moore’s appointment as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in September 2017.  Prior to this appointment, Mr. Moore served as the Inspector General for the Tennessee Valley Authority.  From May 2009 to March 2011, Mr. Moore was the Chairman of the Investigations Committee for the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.  Prior to this position, Mr. Moore served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1985 to 2003.  From 1997 to 1998, Mr. Moore was an Atlantic Fellow in Public Policy at Oxford University in England.  Mr. Moore received his B.S., summa cum laude, from Spring Hill College and his J.D. from the Samford University Cumberland School of Law.

John W. Huber (Vice Chair)

Since June 2015, John Huber has served as the United States Attorney for the District of Utah, and in August 2017, the Senate again confirmed his appointment.  Prior to being United States Attorney, Mr. Huber served as an Assistant United States Attorney for thirteen years.  Mr. Huber began his prosecutorial career in the Weber County (Utah) Attorney’s Office, and later served as the Chief Prosecutor for West Valley City, Utah, before joining the United States Attorney’s Office in 2002.  Mr. Huber received his B.A. from the University of Utah and his J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law.

Justin E. Herdman

The Senate confirmed Justin Herdman’s appointment as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in August 2017.  Prior to this appointment, Mr. Herdman was a partner at Jones Day and an Assistant United States Attorney in Cleveland, Ohio.  Mr. Herdman previously served as an Assistant District Attorney in New York City from 2001 to 2005 and as an associate at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP.  He is currently a Judge Advocate General in the United States Air Force Reserve.  Mr. Herdman received his B.A. from Ohio University, his Master of Philosophy from the University of Glasgow and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Robert Higdon

The Senate confirmed Robert Higdon to be United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina in October 2017.  Prior to this appointment, Mr. Higdon was a partner at the law firm of Williams Mullen.  He previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney in both the Western and Eastern Districts of North Carolina.  In the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Higdon served as Chief of the Criminal Division for more than 11 years.  Mr. Higdon also served as senior trial counsel in the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice.  He received his B.A., cum laude, from Wake Forest University and his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.

Jeff Jensen

The Senate confirmed Jeff Jensen to be United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri in October 2017.  Prior to this appointment, Mr. Jensen was a partner at Husch Blackwell LLP.  He served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Missouri starting in 1999, and was Executive United States Attorney from 2005 to 2009.  Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Jensen was an FBI Special Agent from 1989 to 1999.  While working at the FBI, Mr. Jensen attended St. Louis University School of Law at night, graduating magna cum laude.  He also received his B.A., cum laude, from Indiana University School of Business.

Jessie K. Liu

The Senate confirmed Jessie Liu to be United States Attorney for the District of Columbia in September 2017.  Ms. Liu was previously Deputy General Counsel for the United States Department of the Treasury and a partner at the law firms of Morrison & Foerster LLP and Jenner & Block LLP.  In addition, she has served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia and in several senior positions in the United States Department of Justice, including as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division, counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, and deputy chief of staff for the National Security Division.  Ms. Liu clerked for then-Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  She received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard University and her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Joshua Minkler

The Senate confirmed Joshua Minkler to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana in October 2017.  Since June 2015, Mr. Minkler had served as the interim United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.  Prior to that position, he served for 21 years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Indiana.  Before he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Minkler served for five years as an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Office of the Kent County Michigan Prosecuting Attorney.  Mr. Minkler received his B.A. from Wabash College, and his J.D. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

 Bryan Schroder

Bryan Schroder’s nomination to be United States Attorney for the District of Alaska is pending in the Senate.  Mr. Schroder is currently the Acting United States Attorney for the District of Alaska, and previously served as the First Assistant United States Attorney and Criminal Chief.  Mr. Schroder has served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for more than 11 years.  Mr. Schroder is a retired Captain in the U.S. Coast Guard, having served for 24 years.  Mr. Schroder graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the University of Washington School of Law.

R.Trent Shores

The Senate confirmed Robert Trent Shores to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma in September 2017.  Prior to this appointment, Mr. Shores was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Oklahoma.  Mr. Shores previously served as First Assistant Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma and deputy director for the Department of Justice’s Office of Tribal Justice, where he developed initiatives to promote public safety in Indian Country.  Mr. Shores received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and his J.D. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Mueller Named Special Counsel for Russian Probe

Bob Mueller

The Daily Beast reported at 6 PM that NAFUSA member Robert Mueller will serve as special counsel to oversee the FBI’s investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. The decision was made by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, due to Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusal.

The investigation will also examine ‘related matters,’ according to the release–indicating Mueller will look at possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government.

Mueller will have the power to bring in staff from outside the Justice Department to help with the investigation, and will have all the authority of a U.S. Attorney. He will also be able to request a budget for the investigation, which Rosenstein will ultimately approve.

 

‘In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,’ he said in a statement. ‘My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted.’

‘What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.’

 

136 Former US Attorneys Support Rosenstein for DAG

On Monday, March 6, 2017, a letter was submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, signed by 136 former United States Attorneys, (including many NAFUSA members) supporting the Rosenstein nomination to be Deputy Attorney General. Click here to review the letter and a full list of signatories: Rosenstein Support Letter 

As former U.S. Attorneys, we are in a special position to evaluate the qualifications of one of our own to serve as our nation’s Deputy Attorney General, and we know the important characteristics it takes to serve effectively in that position. It requires a tireless work ethic, unassailable integrity, careful legal thinking, and prudent judgment. These are qualities Mr. Rosenstein possesses in abundance. Many of us served alongside Rod, know him personally, and can vouch for his outstanding reputation—both as a fair and extraordinarily effective prosecutor, and as a person of the highest integrity.

 

Rod’s record of achievement demonstrates those traits. He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S. in Economics, summa cum laude, and earned his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He then served as a law clerk to Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. After his clerkship, Rod joined the Justice Department through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. Since that time, he has served in a variety of significant positions, including a trial attorney with the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, Counsel to Deputy Attorney General and Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division, and as United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. Rod has seen it all and done it all, and knows intimately the workings of the Department, its duties, its powers, and its bounds.

 

His lengthy tenure also demonstrates his commitment to public service. He has now served as U.S. Attorney for almost 12 years, under three presidents—a remarkable tour of duty that is far longer than typical. At any time Mr. Rosenstein could have left his position as U.S. Attorney for a lucrative career in the private sector. That he is one of the very few who did not is, perhaps, the strongest testament to his devotion to public service.

 

Finally, Mr. Rosenstein’s record demonstrates his integrity and independence. He has served as an Associate Independent Counsel, investigated White House officials, prosecute public-corruption cases, and relentlessly pursued every kind of fraud and malfeasance, regardless of the party in power. He epitomizes the ideal DOJ lawyer with his outstanding record of honesty, decency, good judgment and hard work. We have no doubt he will exercise this sound judgment in the role of Deputy Attorney General and fulfill his duties with the utmost propriety and care.

Rosenstein’s confirmation hearings continue.

 

Sessions Asks for Resignations of Remaining Obama US Attorneys

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked for the resignations of the remaining 46 U.S. Attorneys appointed by President Obama who have not already left office “in order to ensure a uniform transition,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said on Friday.

“Until the new U.S. attorneys are confirmed, the dedicated career prosecutors in our U.S. attorney’s offices will continue the great work of the department in investigating, prosecuting and deterring the most violent offenders,” she said in a statement.

Rosenstein Nominated To Be DAG

 

Rod J. Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney in Baltimore, has been nominated to be the Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein, 52, is the sole holdover U.S. attorney from the George W. Bush administration who is still in office. He is the longest-serving U.S. Attorney in the nation, having been confirmed for the District of Maryland in 2005.  If confirmed, he will continue the recent trend of former U.S. Attorneys elevated to the posts of Attorney General (Holder, Lynch and Sessions) and Deputy AG (Yates, Rosenstein).

Rosenstein, a Harvard law graduate, joined the Justice Department in 1990 as a trial attorney in the criminal division’s public integrity section.

US Attorneys Told They Can Stay Past Inauguration Day

Politico reported last last evening that Trump will allow U.S. attorneys to stay past Friday

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has told chief federal prosecutors around the country that they can stay on for some time past Inauguration Day, a Justice Department spokesman said Tuesday night.

“Currently serving U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals were informed today that they are able to stay in place after January 20th while the process for identifying and confirming successors is further determined,” Justice spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said.

The Justice Department also announced that while Attorney General Loretta Lynch will leave her post on Friday, Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates has agreed to serve as Acting Attorney General until a successor has been confirmed by the Senate.

Some Questions for Sessions

AMI Don Stern photo

Don Stern

In today’s Boston Globe, NAFUSA member Don Stern posts Some questions for Sessions. The confirmation for Senator Sessions is scheduled to begin today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Stern suggests some questions the Committee should ask and the answers he believes would be the appropriate responses.

Stern writes,

…the core role of the attorney general — as the nation’s highest-ranking lawyer and prosecutor, and as the protector of the integrity of the Department of Justice — should not be ignored. This means that the attorney general must ensure that the Justice Department remains free of politics, insists on the highest ethical standards, and makes decisions based soley on the facts and the law. While the attorney general is appointed by the president, he or she is not the president’s lawyer.