William Barr William Barr appears for his confirmation hearing. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ

A former Sullivan & Cromwell associate who joined the Trump administration in early 2017 has moved to a front-office position at the U.S. Justice Department as an adviser to the deputy attorney general.

William Hughes, named an associate deputy attorney general this month, joined Main Justice from the Trump White House, where he had been deputy director of administration in the executive office of the president. Hughes had been a Sullivan & Cromwell associate in Washington and New York since November 2009.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Hughes’ front-office portfolio. Several other lawyers at the White House have recently taken key posts in the front office of U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

Hughes is among several former Sullivan & Cromwell lawyers who now hold leadership posts within the Trump administration. Jay Clayton is serving as chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Brent McIntosh is the U.S. Treasury general counsel.

Hughes reported earning about $500,000 in salary at bonus on a financial disclosure he filed in 2017 when he jumped to the White House position. He said on the form that he provided legal services to clients including Barclays Bank PLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co., HSBC Securities USA Inc., and Kraft Food Groups Inc.

His LinkedIn bio touts his “extensive experience representing large institutional clients in complex civil litigation and in connection with DOJ, SEC, CFTC and state Attorneys General investigations.” Politico on Tuesday reported Hughes’s move to Main Justice.

In December, Hughes reported selling off financial holdings in the cryptocurrencies Ethereum and Bitcoin, earning between $2,000 and $30,000 combined on the sales, according to a transaction report on file at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. He still holds financial interests in cryptocurrencies, according to financial disclosures. McIntosh, formerly co-leader of Sullivan & Cromwell’s cybersecurity practice, sold off up to $30,000 worth of Bitcoin in December 2017, a move that was designed to avoid any potential ethics conflicts while serving as the top in-house lawyer at Treasury.

Hughes joins a team of several other associate deputy attorneys general who would report to Jeffrey Rosen on his confirmation as deputy attorney general. Rosen, formerly a Kirkland & Ellis partner now serving as the second-in-charge at the Transportation Department, would succeed Rod Rosenstein.

Jeff Rosen Jeffrey Rosen testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ

Other associate deputy attorneys general include Antoinette Bacon, formerly senior litigation counsel in the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland; David Wetmore, an associate deputy attorney general since February 2019 and a longtime DOJ litigator who had served as senior counsel to Rosenstein; Bradley Weinsheimer, a Justice Department lawyer for more than 25 years; and Patrick Hovakimian, an associate deputy attorney general since 2018 and former senior counsel to Rachel Brand, the associate attorney general who left last year for a top in-house post at Walmart Inc.

Hughes worked in the George W. Bush administration as a White House planning official, traveling domestically and internationally to help the president prepare for meetings, speeches and events.

Hughes clerked for U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser in the Eastern District of New York from 2008 to 2009. The clerkship followed his graduation from the University of Virginia School of Law.

 

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