President Trump on Friday nominated Zachary Terwilliger to serve as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, a high-profile job the prosecutor already holds on an interim basis.
The district regularly handles major terrorism, espionage and cybercrime prosecutions. The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election is prosecuting former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in the district, and an attorney from Terwilliger’s office is involved in that case.
Terwilliger was appointed in May to the interim position by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and he could have served for another 10 weeks before being approved by the chief judge in the district.
But the nomination indicates that Trump stands behind Terwilliger despite the prosecutor’s close relationship with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has angered the president by continuing the special counsel probe.
Terwilliger began his career in the Eastern District of Virginia, where for 10 years he focused on gang violence, human trafficking and financial fraud. He spent a year working on criminal legislation for the Senate Judiciary Committee under Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). He also has served as an associate deputy attorney general overseeing some criminal matters and then as Rosenstein’s chief of staff.