Utah US attorney John Huber was revealed Thursday as the person Attorney General Jeff Sessions tasked with looking into Republican claims of FBI misconduct and whether more should have been done to investigate Hillary Clinton’s ties to a Russian nuclear agency.
Huber, who has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations as a career prosecutor, nearly had his tenure as US attorney cut short last year. In March 2017, shortly after he took charge of the Justice Department, Sessions asked for the resignations of 46 US attorneys who were previous administration holdovers.
Originally appointed by President Barack Obama in 2015, Huber offered his resignation, leaving his fate in the hands of the DOJ.
But President Donald Trump re-nominated Huber in June 2017, and two months later Huber was back at his former post, confirmed by the US Senate for an additional four years.
Last year, former DOJ officials raised concerns over Huber’s appearance at a White House press briefing to tout aspects of Trump’s immigration agenda – something that critics argued blurred the lines of the DOJ’s independence from the White House, NPR reported at the time.
During a June 28, 2017, press briefing alongside the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Huber spoke on the behalf of the DOJ in support of two bills that sought to enforce harsher penalties for illegal immigrants – “Kate’s Law” and the “No Sanctuaries Act,” both of which were passed in the House.
“The reason why we are in support of these is that it adds tools to the toolbox of prosecutors in the Department of Justice to work on the violent crime problem that we have in our country and beat back this blip so it does not become a trend,” he told reporters at the White House.
“The tools that were given in these two proposed acts allow us to fight back against drug traffickers and transnational gangs,” he said.
Since then, Huber has taken on a leadership role on Sessions’ advisory committee of US attorneys that provide counsel to him and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Before becoming Utah’s top federal prosecutor, Huber clocked in 13 years as an assistant US attorney with experience handling violent crime and national security cases, according to his official biography.
During his first swearing-in ceremony as a US attorney, Huber was described as a “jock with the soul of a geek,” a protector for others against bullies, and a man who lived by the motto: “Be the hammer, not the nail,” according to The Deseret News.
A Utah native, Huber graduated with honors from the University of Utah in 1989, where he played football, The Deseret News reported, and later went to earn his law degree from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in 1995.