Former White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler has removed her name from consideration to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General, a White House official confirmed Friday.
Ruemmler, once one of President Barack Obama’s closest aides, was seen as the front-runner for the nomination, which would have required Senate confirmation. Obama asked Ruemmler to consider taking the job in September, shortly after Holder informed Obama he intended to step down after nearly six years on the job. “She took the step this week at her own volition,” the official said.
Regardless of the outcome of next month’s midterm elections, nominating Ruemmler would have exposed her to questions on the nature of the advice she had given the president on an array of sensitive topics. The White House announced earlier this month that the president would not seek to announce a replacement for Holder before the elections.
Ruemmler was one of the lead prosecutors in the government’s case against former Enron executives and worked as a white-collar defense lawyer. She joined the Obama administration in 2009, rising to become the White House Counsel, the president’s in-house lawyer, before stepping down earlier this year.
“Kathy is someone who always tells it like it is, is a world class lawyer, and remains a trusted advisor to the president,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said in a statement. “Anyone who knows Kathy knows she has impeccable judgment, extraordinary foresight, and is a formidable force. She is also as selfless as they come, and the president is proud to call her a close friend.”
The official said Obama had not yet decided on a successor to Holder, and has not made a determination of whether to announce the nomination during the lame-duck period after the election or after the new Congress is seated in January.