President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that there has not been a clear frontrunner among the contenders to become his attorney general, the most prominent cabinet position that he’s yet to make a decision on.
“There’s not an obvious choice in my mind,” Biden told reporters in Delaware.
Biden has lagged behind his recent predecessors in settling on his preferred candidate to lead the Department of Justice. President Donald Trump named Jeff Sessions — who later fell out of favor and became a punching bag for Trump — in mid-November, Barack Obama named Eric Holder as his nominee on the first of December in 2008, and George W. Bush tapped John Ashcroft as his first attorney general 20 years ago to the day, Dec. 22, 2000.
Biden also said that the process has taken more time because of his transition team’s commitment to selecting a diverse set of people throughout the upper echelons of the incoming administration.
“So we’re just working through it,” he said.
Biden’s selection will face heightened scrutiny due to the legal scrutiny the president-elect’s son Hunter is facing from federal authorities tied to his business dealings. The younger Biden revealed earlier this month the U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware is probing his taxes, and POLITICO reported that the securities fraud unit for the Southern District of New York — which specializes in major white-collar crimes — has also looked into Hunter Biden.
Joe Biden has repeatedly vowed to not discuss Hunter Biden’s situation with attorney general candidates and that he will not interfere with any investigation, a position he reiterated Tuesday.
“I guarantee you I’m going to do what I said,” he said. “The attorney general of the United States of America is not the president’s lawyer. I will appoint someone who I expect to enforce the law as the law’s written, not guided by me.”
Some conservatives have agitated for the Trump administration to appoint a special counsel to shield the Hunter Biden investigation from the incoming administration, though Attorney General Bill Barr said this week he sees no need to do so before he’s due to step down this week.
“I think to the extent there’s an investigation, I think that it’s being handled responsibly and professionally currently within the department,” Barr said at a news conference Monday.