ABC News’ Theresa Cook and Jason Ryan Report: The Justice Department announced Wednesday that President Bush has appointed Craig S. Morford as the acting Deputy Attorney General.
Morford, currently the U.S. attorney for Tennessee’s middle district, will replace Paul McNulty, who will leave the department later this summer. The deputy attorney general is the second-highest ranking official at the Justice Department. Morford will have to be confirmed by the Senate before taking office.
"With 20 years of experience as a Justice Department prosecutor, I am pleased to have a person of Mr. Morford’s exemplary character and integrity in this critical position at this time," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in a statement.
Morford has also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Ohio, interim U.S. attorney in Michigan and has held various other positions at the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service.
The May announcement of the resignation of his predecessor, McNulty, came amid the controversy over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year — the current deputy was closely involved in the process. But McNulty said he was leaving the department for monetary reasons, citing the "financial realities of college-age children."
The Justice Department announced Morford’s appointment just days before Gonzales’ next appearance on Capitol Hill. The attorney general will face the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 24. The committee’s chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has already sent the Attorney General a series of questions in advance, so he can prepare for the hearing. Gonzales’ last appearance was peppered with "I don’t recall" responses, much to the frustration of the committee.