The Senate voted 98–2 on April 20 to confirm Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general, the second-highest rank in the Justice Department (DOJ).
President Joe Biden nominated Monaco to the post in early January. Deputy attorneys general oversee U.S. attorney’s offices across the nation and handle a large portfolio of high-profile cases. She will also be responsible for developing criminal justice policies on issues such as sentencing and clemency.
Monaco will supervise the massive wave of prosecutions against protesters involved in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The facts about the event, which the establishment media portrayed as an armed and deadly insurrection, are still coming to light. The sole Capitol Police officer who was alleged to have been killed by the protesters turned out to have died of natural causes.
The DOJ has charged more than 410 people in connection with the breach, from minor trespassing to more serious offenses such as assaulting police, obstructing Congress, and conspiring to storm the Capitol.
Monaco also will have to contend with the fallout from an alleged Russian-led hacking campaign that targeted software made by SolarWinds Corp. and compromised government offices including the U.S. Treasury, as well as the Justice and Commerce departments.
Prior to returning to government service, Monaco, 53, worked with the law firm O’Melveny & Myers. She has previously served in the DOJ and the White House. She was a prosecutor who served on the government’s multi-agency task force that focused on wrongdoing by Enron Corp. in connection with the energy company’s 2001 collapse.
Monaco later worked at the FBI advising its former director, Robert Mueller, and served as assistant attorney general in the National Security Division from 2011 to 2013 under President Barack Obama.
She also worked as Obama’s Homeland Security and counterterrorism adviser.
“She is one of the nation’s foremost national security experts,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on the Senate floor, adding that her experience “has prepared her to oversee DOJ’s operations at this critical moment in history.”
During her tenure at the DOJ in 2011, Monaco was involved in the drafting of a letter to Congress concerning the Fast and Furious firearms scandal. Two of the key statements in the letter were later found to be false, prompting a congressional inquiry into whether lawmakers were willfully lied to. The DOJ subsequently withdrew the letter.
Reuters contributed to this report.