Advance Notice: Briefs

Former Trump U.S. attorney Schneider takes a pass on ’22 AG race

By: - August 19, 2021 7:57 am

Attorney General William Barr (at podium) and (left to right) U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Matthew Schneider, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, BATFE Acting Director Regina Lombardo, DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald Washington, announce a new Crime Reduction Initiative designed to reduce crime in Detroit on December 18, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Updated, 10:04 a.m., 8/19/21

Matthew Schneider, who former President Donald Trump tapped as the U.S. attorney for Michigan’s eastern district, announced Wednesday evening that he would not run as a Republican candidate for attorney general in 2022.

“I’m successfully, busily, and happily fulfilling my commitment to build and grow the investigations and white collar defense practice at Honigman, the top law firm in Michigan, and as such I will not be a candidate for Michigan attorney general or any other elective office in 2022,” he said in a statement.

Matthew Schneider

Both Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Twp.) and Matthew DePerno, a Kalamazoo attorney who’s worked on pro-Trump efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, have said they are running to challenge Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel next year. Former House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt), who lost to Nessel in 2018, also has reportedly been weighing a rematch.

The Michigan Republican Party will pick the nominee at its 2022 convention, which is being moved up to April.

Schneider was mentioned by GOP strategists as a strong candidate for either governor or AG in ’22 and has long been eyed for public office, with some insiders pushing for him to run for attorney general as early as 2010.

Schneider, who is now a white-collar defense attorney as a partner at Detroit-based Honigman, was best known during his U.S. attorney tenure for investigating corruption in the UAW union and being charged by former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr with overseeing a probe into Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s initial strict COVID-19 restrictions.

In April, the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees — chaired by Rich Studley, who also heads the Michigan Chamber of Commerce — hired Schneider to head an investigation of the school’s role in a sexual harassment scandal. CMU staff referred students to work at the now-defunct Vanguard Public Affairs, despite allegedly knowing about owner T.J. Bucholz’s history of sexually harassing women.

Prior his U.S. attorney appointment, Schneider served as Michigan’s chief deputy attorney general under GOP former Attorney General Bill Schuette. Schneider was the lead counsel representing the governor and the state of Michigan in the city of Detroit federal bankruptcy case during GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder’s tenure.

Schneider previously also served as Michigan Supreme Court chief of staff and general counsel, a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice in Detroit and on the legal staff of former President George W. Bush as senior advisor and assistant general counsel in the White House Budget Office.


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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 23-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ people, the state budget, the economy and more. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 100 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive.