Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 21, 2020 -- Photo taken on Oct. 20, 2020 shows the U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington D.C.

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and to lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

  • He’ll join chief of staff Matt Klapper, who held the same role for Sen. Cory Booker, and Dena Iverson, a DOJ veteran, who will serve as principal deputy director of public affairs.
  • Coley also worked for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and worked under Treasury Secs. Tim Geithner and Jack Lew. He will start Monday.

The big picture: Garland is still waiting for his Senate confirmation hearing, during which Republicans plan to press the circuit judge on how he will handle the tax investigation into the president’s son, Hunter.

  • Some Republicans, including Texas Sen. John Cornyn, have indicated they will support Garland’s nomination, and the White House expects him to be confirmed.
  • Garland’s challenge will be to restore public trust in the department while also boosting morale among career officials.

Be smart: While Biden has filled out his Cabinet, hundreds of Democratic aides and operatives are still jostling for plum positions inside the administration.

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