Breaking news has it that Bill Mercer, the US Attorney from Montana who has been working on an interim basis as the number three at the DoJ since September, has withdrawn his nomination to be awarded the post on a permanent basis.
President Bush's pick to be the No. 3 official in the Justice Department asked to have his nomination withdrawn Friday, four days before he was to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.Ah, the old "family needs before public duty" chestnut.
Bill Mercer sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales saying it was unlikely that the Senate would confirm him to a post he has held on an interim basis since September. He will leave Washington and turn his full attention to his work as U.S. attorney for Montana.
``With no clear end in sight with respect to my nomination, it is untenable for me to pursue both responsibilities and provide proper attention to my family,'' Mercer wrote.
Not that it has anything to do with a subpoena or his upcoming confirmation hearing, oh no.
The Judiciary Committee had scheduled a hearing on Mercer's nomination for Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the committee had said senators needed the facts from an investigation into the firings of several federal prosecutors before he could be confirmed.Bush can't find loyal Republicans who want to work for him and can stand the light of day shining under their little private rocks. As long as a tame Congress played along with White House Omerta, everything was fine, but now the goodfellas are running for cover.
``The White House has found many ways to keep sunlight from reaching some of the darker corners of the Bush Justice Department, but this is a new one,'' Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement. ``With a confirmation hearing looming next Tuesday, they have withdrawn this nomination to avoid having to answer more questions under oath.''
Mercer's name comes up at times in thousands of pages of e-mail exchanges between Justice Department and White House officials discussing the firings. The panel had authorized a subpoena for Mercer as part of its investigation.