First Woman Attorney General Janet Reno

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NBC Nightly News
Katie Couric
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Janet Reno is confirmed by the Senate as the first women to hold the office of Attorney General.



"First Woman Attorney General Janet Reno ." Katie Couric, correspondent. NBC Nightly News. NBCUniversal Media. 12 Mar. 1993. NBC Learn. Web. 5 February 2015.


Couric, K. (Reporter). (1993, March 12). First Woman Attorney General Janet Reno . [Television series episode]. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from


"First Woman Attorney General Janet Reno " NBC Nightly News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 03/12/1993. Accessed Thu Feb 5 2015 from NBC Learn:


First Woman Attorney General Janet Reno


After a remarkably quick and very friendly confirmation hearing, President Clinton's nominee for attorney general, Janet Reno, has now been confirmed by the Senate. Reno won a rare 98-0 unanimous vote, and will become the first woman ever to hold the office of attorney general when she is sworn in later today. This morning, she's already at the White House, in the East Room.

Ms. Reno, good morning. Congratulations, and it's nice to see you again.

Ms. JANET RENO (Attorney General): It's very good to talk with you this morning. How are you?

COURIC: Fine, thank you. It was very smooth sailing for you during the confirmation hearings. Were you surprised it was so easy?

Ms. RENO: I was very gratified. The--the foundation, I think, that we built with the Senate Judiciary Committee, the response of the United States Senate was very heartwarming, and I think it shows that we can communicate together, try to deal with the issues, reach agreement wherever possible, understand how we disagree, and try to work together to address the issues that we--are so critical to this country.

COURIC: Before we talk about those issues, let me just ask you, as the first woman attorney general. Do you feel any particular pressure to perform?

Ms. RENO: I don't feel any pressure, except to try to do the women of America proud.

COURIC: You've certainly inherited a Justice Department that's facing a pretty long list of concerns that's been run by Republicans for 12 years. The New York Post, this morning, says "First woman attorney general faces World Trade Center terror blast, Waco siege, slain abortion doc. She's got her hands full." Do you feel terribly overwhelmed by all the things that you are facing right now?

Ms. RENO: No. I--I come back to my--the point I made as I began the confirmation hearings, what my mother taught me, that you face each obstacle, you face each problem, you try to do the right thing, you try to be prepared, and you can get through. Just don't let it overwhelm you.

COURIC: Well, which is the first problem or obstacle that--that you will face? What's your first priority?

Ms. RENO: My first priority is to build a team in the Department of Justice by the selections I make to fill various positions that reflects excellence, integrity, and the diversity of America.

COURIC: One of the decisions, of course, will center around FBI Director William Sessions, who's been under investigation. Can you give us any indication about his fate? What might happen to him?

Ms. RENO: I certainly won't prejudge that issue. I want to review all the reports, gather all the information that I think can possibly be relevant, and make the most informed, fair and objective judgment I can in making my recommendation to the president.

COURIC: How long do you think it might take before you make the recommendation, and how high a priority is this?

Ms. RENO: It's certainly one of the most important concerns in the department, and we want to do it in a smooth, deliberate, but as speedy as possible for all concerned.

COURIC: As--as attorney general, you have, of course, authority over the FBI, which is involved in two very big problems right now, the standoff in Waco, and the World Trade Center bombing. First, Waco. What direction would you give the FBI in this situation?

Ms. RENO: I have not been briefed on that, since I've not been sworn in, so we'll address that issue as--as soon as--as we get to the department.

COURIC: There has been discussion, Ms. Reno, about whether the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms should have gone in the first place, and some are asking for a full-scale review of what happened. Would you support that review?

Ms. RENO: I think, first of all, we just have to recognize the sacrifice of the agents. We have to let our thoughts and prayers be with the family members, with people who--who know what that sacrifice means. And then we've got to move on in the future. But right now, the issue is to protect everyone, possibly, that we can.

COURIC: I know that you said yesterday that you'd like the Justice Department to look into the case of what could be done in the case of—of Dr. Gunn, who was shot down in Pensacola the other day. What could the Justice Department do in this situation?

Mr. RENO: Again, as soon as I'm able to, I want to look at the issues, see how federal law can be used to make sure that a woman's right to choose is protected from physical conduct that would restrain it.

COURIC: I know, Ms. Reno that you support the Brady Bill. Are you hopeful that the situation in Waco and the tragedy involving Dr. Gunn may pave the way for its passage?

Ms. RENO: Again, I want to work with Congress in every way possible to secure passage of the Brady Bill as soon as possible.

COURIC: In Florida, you had a reputation for--for being quite an individualist. You are criminal law--a criminal justice official with a listed phone number, you're quite accessible. You had no air conditioning in your house. You had peacocks running around your front yard. How do you think you're going to adjust to life inside the Beltway?

Ms. RENO: I don't forget where I come from.

COURIC: It's as simple as that, huh?

Ms. RENO: That's right.

COURIC: All right, Janet Reno, thank you. Again, congratulations, good luck to you...

Ms. RENO: Thank you.

COURIC: ...and thanks for talking with us this morning.