President Bush tucked it in at the end of his announcement this morning. The new acting attorney general will be Peter Keisler, an assistant attorney general who had just announced his own resignation and whose nomination to the D.C. Court of Appeals has been held up for months by Senate Democrats. So it will be Keisler, a diehard conservative and controversial figure, who occupies the DOJ top spot until a new AG is confirmed, instead of Solicitor General Paul Clement, who Bush first announced as acting AG last month, when Alberto Gonzales' intended resignation was made public. Paul Kiel has the details.
So while putting forward what purports to be a consensus nominee, in Mukasey, Bush also puts a lightning rod in as acting AG. Presumably, Bush wants to keep the heat on Dems to confirm Mukasey, by making them face the prospect of a long Keisler tenure if the Mukasey nomination is held up. This is especially true given Democrats' demands that the White House and DOJ comply with document requests pertaining to the U.S. attorney firings and the administration's warrantless wiretapping program before the Senate considers confirmation.