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AG Rumors 'Invented,' Whitehouse Says

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Whitehouse said he is not interested in taking over as attorney general in Obama’s second term.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said he is content as a United States senator and is not eyeing the post of attorney general in President Barack Obama’s second term cabinet, should it become available.

“I am very happy where I am,” Whitehouse said Tuesday when asked if he would be interested in the position.

“This is press invented,” Whitehouse said regarding the possibility.

His comments come as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is rumored to be on his way out. Holder’s tenure as the nation’s top law enforcement officer has been marred by the Operation Fast and Furious scandal and a subsequent battle with Congress over documents related to the gun-walking operation.

In June the House held the attorney general in contempt of Congress for the first time in history over access to those documents.

Whitehouse, who won a resounding re-election victory in November, served as Rhode Island attorney general from 1999 to 2003. Though he appears qualified to lead the Justice Department, the president may not want him to, given that the senator has been critical of the use executive power, under both President George W. Bush and Obama.

Whitehouse has raised concerns about the Obama administration’s “kill list” policy, which the administration used to authorize the targeted killing of an American citizen — Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki , who was born in New Mexico — without due process.

“We need better congressional oversight of this area,” Whitehouse said in June on Air America Radio’s “Majority Report with Sam Seder.” “And then we need a clearer notion of what the appropriate level of due process is.”

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