Of course today we had him ask Obama to exercise executive privilege to save his hide. So much for distance.
From his 2009 confirmation hearing:
I understand that the attorney general is different from every other cabinet officer. Though I am a part of the president’s team, I am not a part of the president’s team in the way that any other cabinet officer is. I have a special and unique responsibility.
There has to be a distance between me and the president. The president-elect said when he nominated me that he recognized that, that the attorney general was different from other cabinet officers.