President Donald Trump says he believes Attorney General Jeff Sessions will likely leave his Cabinet at the end of the year, and so far has five potential replacements who could take over at the Justice Department, tThe Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
President Donald Trump believes Attorney General Jeff Sessions will likely leave his Cabinet at the end of the year, and so far has five potential replacements in mind who could take his place, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
Possible successors include retired federal appeals judge Janice Rogers Brown, transportation department counsel Steven Bradbury, Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar, deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, and Bill Barr, who served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush.
Tensions have flared between Trump and Sessions ever since the attorney general recused himself from all Russia-related matters surrounding the federal investigation of that country's meddling in the 2016 US election.
Trump frequently denounces the special counsel investigation as a politically motivated "witch hunt," and accuses the Justice Department under Sessions of not sufficiently investigating what he believes are indiscretions perpetrated by Democrats.
"You know, the only reason I gave him the job is because I felt loyalty," Trump told Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt in an August interview. "He was an original supporter." Trump lamented that he "put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department."
Trump's comments prompted a strong rebuke from Sessions, who issued a rare statement directly pushing back on the president's calls for his Department to probe Democrats in the interview and several mocking tweets.
"While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations," the statement read. "I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action."
Sessions has not announced any formal plans to step down from his post, but he has privately anticipated he may be asked to resign, and senior officials within the White House and the Justice Department expect him to do so after the November midterm elections, people familiar with the matter told The Journal.