In choosing his new attorney general, President Bush departed Monday from one of his more unshakable core values: the known commodity.
Instead, the White House, seeking consensus over confrontation, tapped former New York federal judge Michael Mukasey to helm the troubled Justice Department.
Mukasey, 66, would take over an agency that’s seen an exodus of top officials and faces multiple internal and external investigations—including one by the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), signaled he might delay confirmation hearings on Mukasey until the White House answers questions about its role in the firings of federal prosecutors.
Still, as an outsider to Washington political and legal circles, Mukasey arrives with a reputation of being bullish on national security but relatively independent of politics, with almost no ties to the administration.
In other words, it’s a different page than the one typically found in the Bush playbook—a change Democrats welcomed, with some going as far as to hope it was the beginning of a new day in this, the seventh year of the president’s administration. “This selection has meaning beyond the resume of the man selected,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).