Schiff is allegedly working behind the scenes to lobby California Gov. Gavin Newsom to appoint him as the Golden State’s next attorney general, Axios reported Tuesday night, citing sources familiar with the situation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., supports the move, Politico added.
The seat will soon open up if its current occupant and President Biden’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, is confirmed. It was once held by Vice President Kamala Harris, before her election to the U.S. Senate.
The move would mark a major shift for Schiff, currently the influential chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who saw his national profile rise during the Russia investigation and then the first impeachment of former President Trump. But, it also would allow him more time in his home state ahead of 87-year-old Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s possible retirement at the end of her term in 2025.
Schiff’s district is reliably Democratic, and the party would still hold a majority in the House of Representatives until his replacement is chosen – albeit a narrow one.
Schiff has represented California’s 28th District for almost 20 years. As a former federal prosecutor who graduated from Harvard Law School, he has experience that would ostensibly qualify him to lead the state attorney general’s office – although critics have accused him of partisanship. Still, Pelosi has been advocating on his behalf, Politico reported.
His office could not immediately be reached for comment.
It’s unclear who would fill Schiff’s seat on the Intel Committee. Fellow California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, another ally of Pelosi's, remains on the committee – despite his unexplained ties to an alleged Chinese spy named Fang Fang.
For his part, Newsom is facing low point in his approval ratings -- a recall effort seeking his removal from office that’s been gaining steam, and a worsening coronavirus outbreak.