After 2-year vacancy, Trump nominates Arizona AG staffer for U.S. Attorney post

The top federal law enforcement post in Arizona could be filled soon, more than two years since the last permanent appointment.

President Donald Trump nominated Michael Bailey, the chief deputy at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, to a four-year term as the next U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. Bailey’s nomination will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The Feb. 12 nomination came more than two years after John Leonardo, an appointee of President Obama, stepped down days before Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.

Arizona is one of the last of the 94 districts nationwide to see a nomination for U.S. attorney, Senate records show.

The U.S. attorney makes decisions on high-profile cases and new prosecution policies, on top of representing the federal government in civil litigation and coordinating multi-agency investigations.

Bailey was unavailable for an interview, but Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told the Arizona Daily Star that Bailey is an “outstanding choice.”

Brnovich said Bailey had “wide and deep experience,” with years of prosecuting homicides and other violent crimes, as well cases involving vulnerable people.

Bailey is a “consensus builder” who “never raises his voice” and “would be a great poker player,” Brnovich said.

“This process took a long time, which was unfortunate, but the most important thing is they picked the right person,” Brnovich said.

Sen. Martha McSally commended Trump for nominating Bailey in a news release Tuesday and said she would “work to ensure Mr. Bailey is confirmed without delay.”

The lag between nomination and confirmation ranges from a few weeks to several months, Senate records show.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema “is doing her due diligence and taking a thoughtful look at this nominee, as she promised Arizonans she would,” according to a statement issued by Sinema’s office.

Former sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake recommended Andrew Pacheco, the former head of the criminal division at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, in April 2017, but no nomination followed.

Since Trump’s inauguration, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona has been led by Elizabeth A. Strange, who joined the office in early 2008 and served as acting U.S. attorney for most of 2017.

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