|United States Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division|
|Assumed office |
July 16, 2018
|Preceded by||Leslie R. Caldwell|
Brian Allen Benczkowski
October 1, 1969
Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.
|Education||University of Virginia (BA)|
Washington University (JD)
Brian Allen Benczkowski (born October 1, 1969) is an American lawyer who currently serves as the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice. Prior to assuming his current role, he was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis.
Benczkowski received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia in 1991. He attended the Washington University School of Law, where he was an associate editor of the Washington University Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law. He received his Juris Doctor in 1994.
Early in his career, Benczkowski served on the staff of former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici and U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner. His previous roles include serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs, where he managed the Department of Justice's relationship with Congress. Later, he became Chief of Staff for the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. In those positions, he was awarded the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service in 2003, and the John Marshall Award for Excellence in Preparing and Handling Legislation in 2008. He was also the Republican Staff Director for the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where he advised Republican members of the committee on legislative, oversight, and nomination issues.
In 2010, Benczkowski joined the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, where his practice focused on litigation and white collar criminal defense, including government and internal investigations. Benczkowski's clients there included Alfa-Bank, the largest private commercial bank in Russia.
Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division
In June 2017, President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Benczkowski to become Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice Criminal Division. According to the Washington Post, "Benczkowski is a well-regarded lawyer, especially in conservative circles." Politico called him the "GOP's go-to guy for hearings." At the time of his confirmation in July 2018, Benczkowski had no prosecutorial experience.
Benczkowski refused to recuse himself from dealing with Mueller's investigation, even though he had worked for two of Russia's leading oligarchs. Benczkowski was a lawyer who had overseen the cybersecurity firm Stroz Friedberg report for Alfa-Bank related to the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. During Benczkowski's confirmation hearing he was emphatic that Stroz Friedberg, like Mandiant, had rejected the possibility of complicity, and the report's investigation found that "there was no communications link between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank." Stroz Friedberg, gave the same explanation for why it, along with Mandiant, was "unable to verify" the data, that it was unable to inspect the bank's Domain Name System logs from 2016, because Alfa retained such records for only twenty-four hours.
- Timeline of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections
- Timeline of investigations into Trump and Russia (2018)
- Press Release (June 5, 2017). "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts". The White House. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
- "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts". The White House. June 5, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
- Godoy, Joy (May 4, 2017). "Kirkland Partner Likely To Be Tapped For DOJ Criminal Chief". Law360. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
- Libit, Daniel (June 15, 2009). "The GOP's go-to guy for hearings". Politico. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
- Schneier, Cogan (May 5, 2017). "Kirkland White-Collar Partner Floated for DOJ Criminal Division". National Law Journal. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
- Charlie Savage; Adam Goldman (July 25, 2017). "Justice Dept. Nominee Says He Once Represented Russian Bank". The New York Times. p. A11. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
- Zapotosky, Matt (November 16, 2016). "Brian Benczkowski, once dubbed 'GOP's go-to guy for hearings,' helping manage Justice Department transition". Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
- Pres. Nom. 569, 115th Cong. (2017).
- Carrie Johnson (July 11, 2018). "Senate Confirms New Boss For Justice Department Criminal Division". NPR.org. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- Dexter Filkins. "Was There a Connection Between a Russian Bank and the Trump Campaign? A team of computer scientists sifted through records of unusual Web traffic in search of answers". NewYorker.com. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
Leslie R. Caldwell
| United States Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division