by Mabra Holeyfield —
Who does the attorney general work for?
That appears to be a very simple and easy question. Everyone knows the attorney general, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, works for the American people.
In practice, however, it doesn’t usually work that way.
When the president is putting together his cabinet, he will appoint some that he actually doesn’t know. They will be referrals from major donors or special interest groups. They will be appointed to such agencies as Interior, Commerce, Energy, HUD and EPA.
But the attorney general position is different. Historically, presidents have appointed people to this position that they are confident will protect them from the agency that they fear the most – the Department of Justice, which includes the FBI.
President John Kennedy wasn’t taking any chances with J. Edgar Hoover over the FBI. He appointed his brother, Bobby, as attorney general. President Richard Nixon chose his close friend and former law partner, John Mitchell, who went to prison for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.
President Jimmy Carter chose his fellow Georgian, Griffin Bell, and President Ronald Reagan chose Edwin Meese, who worked for him when he was governor of California and was on his presidential transition team. President Barack Obama chose Eric Holder, who was his senior legal advisor during the campaign and was a close confidant.
President Trump initially chose Jeff Session, who was active in his campaign but was fired when he recused himself from the Russian investigation and couldn’t protect Trump. The current attorney general, William Barr, was appointed after he wrote an 18-page memo criticizing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.
In the interest of full disclosure, if I am elected to the Oval Office, my wife, Janis, will become the first attorney general to be married to the President.
(Mabra Holeyfield is the author of “Use What You Got,” which draws upon his 50 years of business experience to offer strategies to address poverty in the black community. Available at www.mholeyfield.com.)