Republican lawyers have spent eight years waiting in the wings for their next shot at top jobs in the Justice Department and White House. With Donald Trump as president-elect, though, there are complications for would-be appointees, at least those with traditional GOP credentials, the National Law Journal reports. So far the names surfacing as candidates for U.S. attorney general in Trump’s administration—New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) —are politicians loyal to Trump but who have detractors in the Republican legal community.
Meanwhile, some former DOJ officials and U.S. attorneys who served under President George W. Bush, a group that normally would be the go-to source of nominees for an incoming Republican president, signed letters warning against a Trump presidency or took stands at odds with his campaign, such as criticizing FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Melinda Haag, a former U.S. Attorney in San Francisco, said that as difficult as it might be to serve an administration one doesn’t agree with, there’s chatter now among former DOJ officials about the need for qualified attorneys to run the department. Kevin O’Connor, general counsel of Point72 Asset Management and the former U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, is heading DOJ staffing for the transition team. Peter Zeidenberg, who served in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section from 2001 to 2007, said that given the “tenor” of Trump’s campaign, it was likely that anyone who publicly opposed Trump’s candidacy would be blocked from “ever setting foot in the Trump administration in any capacity.”