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Politics As Usual: Rep. John Lewis Tried to Block Georgia U.S. Atty. Nominee

There’s no way getting around the fact that the selection of a U.S. Attorney remains highly politicized. It seems there must be a way to minimize that. Unfortunately, no one has found one — or seems to want to find one.

Rep. John Lewis/ gov photo
Rep. John Lewis/ gov photo

By EVAN PEREZ and DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON
The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON — Georgia Rep. John Lewis, one of Washington’s most prominent Democrats, called the White House earlier this year to try to block the appointment of a federal prosecutor who won convictions against more than a dozen public officials in Atlanta — including former Mayor Bill Campbell, a longtime friend and ally of Mr. Lewis.

After queries from The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Lewis’ contacted White House Counsel Greg Craig late last month to withdraw his objections to the nomination of the prosecutor, Sally Q. Yates, for U.S. Attorney in Atlanta. Two government officials with knowledge of the matter described the calls.

Within days, the White House forwarded the name of Ms. Yates, currently the senior assistant U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, to the Justice Department for a final round of background checks before she is officially nominated as the top prosecutor for the Northern District of Georgia. Ms. Yates — if nominated by President Barack Obama as expected — would require approval by the Senate.

Mr. Lewis declined to comment. A top aide to the congressman said Mr. Lewis’s initial lack of support for Ms. Yates had nothing to do with her role in prosecuting Mr. Campbell or other public figures. The aides said the recommendations made by Georgia’s congressional delegation were based on candidate qualifications.

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