Who Could Succeed Sessions as Attorney General?

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While resigned to the prospect that President Trump will fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterm elections, senators suspect that perhaps only a sitting senator could win confirmation as Sessions’ successor, someone they could trust not to interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. No one from their ranks seems to want the job, Politico reports. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he didn’t want the job. “No. I like being a senator. There are plenty of more qualified people than me. Bunches of them, thousands,” Graham said. Asked about Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, a fellow lawyer who was considered as FBI director, Graham said: “He’d be great if he wanted to do it.” No dice, said Cornyn. “We already have an attorney general,” he said. Mike Lee (R-UT), who some Republicans think might be interested, is “very happy” in his current role as senator, a spokesman said.

With few obvious potential applicants for a job that seems to come with built-in clashes with the president, some senators suggest Trump might have to nominate a Democrat. “Trump may very well want a change,” said retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “If I was the president, I’d even consider picking a Democrat if I thought I couldn’t get anybody else through.” The president is looking for a staunch defender like Eric Holder was to Barack Obama, said a Republican close to the White House. This source unsure any senator could meet Trump’s criteria of loyalty. Some Republican senators, like Ben Sasse of Nebraska, have said it would be “really difficult” for them to support a successor should Trump fire Sessions. Asked whether he was confident he could confirm a Sessions successor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defended the attorney general and said he hopes he sticks around.

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