This email from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just hit my inbox: "This Nation Needs A New Attorney General, And It Can’t Afford To Wait."
The subhead below read: "Democrats Who Asked For New Leadership Will Soon Have The Opportunity To Expeditiously Confirm A New Attorney General."
In other words, get ready for an announcement–soon–of a new Attorney General.
The rumor mill in Washington says the frontrunner is Ted Olson, the former Bush Administration solicitor general who argued Bush v. Gore.
Back in the 1990s, he helped the American Spectator magazine run its notorious "Arkansas Project," which heaped mounds of dirt, much of it later proven untrue, at the Clintons. Democrats tried to raise the issue at Olson’s solicitor general confirmation hearing, but the investigation was stymied by then-Chairman Orrin Hatch, another rumored Attorney General candidate.
"I have become concerned that Mr. Olson has not shown a willingness or ability to be sufficiently candid and forthcoming with the Senate," current Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said in 2001. The Judiciary Committee deadlocked on whether to confirm Olson, by a vote to 9-9, and eventually he was narrowly confirmed by the full Senate, 51-47. Democrats Ben Nelson and Zell Miller (who later left the party) were the only ones to vote aye.
If Olson is selected as AG, will his background as a conservative operative and Bush partisan remain an issue? At least some Democrats think so.
Said Senator Chuck Schmer this week: "Clearly if you made a list of consensus nominees, Olson wouldn’t appear on that list."