[JURIST] Senate confirmation hearings for US Attorney General nominee Michael B. Mukasey [WH fact sheet; PBWT profile] will begin October 17 [press release], Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said Wednesday. Leahy has already outlined for Mukasey several issues of "concern" [letter, PDF; JURIST report], including:
how you would ensure the independence of federal law enforcement from political pressure, what steps you would take to restore morale at the Department and the public's trust in the Department, and whether you would uphold constitutional checks on Executive power.Leahy has also said that he would seek Mukasey's opinion on controversial issues including the US Attorneys firing scandal [JURIST news archive], the investigation of alleged election crimes, the executive abuse of secrecy and expansion of power, and his willingness to share materials related to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigations. Leahy will meet with Mukasey on October 16 "as a prelude to the confirmation proceedings."
Last month Mukasey told Leahy in a private meeting [JURIST report] that as attorney general he would forbid DOJ employees from discussing sensitive cases with outside agencies, the White House or Congress without his authorization. Leahy said at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting that he was pleased with Mukasey's "attitude," retreating from earlier statements that he would hold up Mukasey's nomination until the Bush administration hands over key information about its domestic surveillance program. President George W. Bush formally nominated [JURIST report] Mukasey on September 17 to replace former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [JURIST news archive], who submitted his resignation in August. AP has more.