President Trump is considering a handful of loyalists as possible replacements for Jeff Sessions after his unceremonious exit as attorney general, according to multiple reports and people familiar with the matter.
Following months of public spats, Trump finally fired Sessions on Wednesday and replaced him on an acting basis with his own chief of staff Matthew Whitaker, a political appointee who has been overtly critical of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump didn’t immediately nominate a permanent replacement for Sessions, but sources familiar with the matter said the President is mulling at least five people for the top law enforcement post.
High on the list is Kris Kobach, the controversial Kansas secretary of state who headed Trump’s defunct commission on voter fraud, which folded earlier this year after it was unable to prove the President’s baseless claim that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.
“With the expanded majority in the Senate, it could very well happen,” a GOP insider familiar with the matter told the Daily News about Kobach, referencing the Republican upper chamber gains in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Kobach, who just lost a gubernatorial race in Kansas, was under consideration for a number of Cabinet-level positions at the outset of Trump’s presidency, including secretary of the Homeland Security.
Another possible contender is Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is one of Trump’s most vocal supporters in Congress.
The Republican South Carolina senator was spotted walking into the Oval Office with Trump on Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after the President canned Sessions.
Contrary to most Trump loyalists, Graham has not sided with the President in accusing Mueller of orchestrating a political “witch hunt.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was also at the White House on Thursday, according to NBC News and CNN, and a person familiar with the matter said he’s on Trump’s list of possible AG nominees as well.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s top attorney in the Russia investigation, was another name dropped by Republican operatives familiar with the President’s thinking.
The former New York mayor has been highly critical of Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to the Kremlin, calling it a “witch hunt” and demanding the special counsel wrap up his inquiry.
Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment.
A source told The News that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is also on Trump’s short list of possible AG picks. Bondi has faced criticism for co-hosting overtly Trump-boosting shows on Fox News while concurrently serving as the Sunshine State’s top law enforcement official.
Pending a permanent replacement, Democrats have called on Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation, considering his numerous public slights against the probe, including opining in a TV interview last year that Trump should fire Sessions and replace him with an acting attorney general who could stifle Mueller’s inquiry by cutting off funding for it.
Whitaker has given no indication that he plans to act on those demands.
This article provided by NewsEdge.