The discussions inside the transition team are down to a series of front-runners, people familiar with the search tell CNN, with Judge Merrick Garland and Alabama’s Sen. Doug Jones seen as the two most likely choices. A final decision is not expected until next week.
In Garland, Biden’s team sees someone who is unimpeachable and politically independent at a time when rebuilding trust in the Department of Justice will be critical and a number of thorny political issues could cross the attorney general’s desk. Jones, on the other hand, has a strong civil rights background and is seen as far closer to Biden, although that relationship could raise questions about his ability to impartially oversee a department that is actively investigating the incoming president’s son.
“Those are the competing questions,” a person following the transition closely tells CNN. “Someone perceived as above reproach or someone closer to Biden.”