First Trump Cabinet Pick: Jeff Sessions for AG
News is leaking this morning that Donald Trump has selected Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as his choice for Attorney General. Sessions’ name had been floated among several other possibilities, but it looks like this news is being confirmed by senior officials within the Trump ranks. I’ve held off for days on posting about cabinet selections since the proces was still up in the air and information changed by the minute. Now it looks like we’re getting some concrete names.
Report from CBS News:
President-elect Trump has offered Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions the post of attorney general, sources directly involved in the selection process tell CBS News.
The choice of Sessions to be the nation’s top prosecutor is sure to be controversial.
Sessions has been one of Mr. Trump’s closest and most consistent allies.
But when Sessions faced Senate confirmation for a job 30 years ago, it didn’t go well.
Nominated for a federal judgeship in 1986, Sessions, R-Ala., was dogged by racist comments he was accused of making while serving as U.S. attorney in Alabama. He was said to have called a black assistant U.S. attorney “boy” and the NAACP “un-American” and “communist-inspired.”
Sessions was the first senator to back Mr. Trump during the campaign and is an architect of Mr. Trump’s immigration, counterterrorism and trade policies.
His name has been floated for attorney general and secretary of defense. The Trump transition team released a statement Thursday saying the president-elect is “unbelievably impressed” with Sessions, citing his work as a U.S. attorney and state attorney general in Alabama.
Sessions is known as an immigration hawk, and has been advising Trump throughout the campaign on such matters. With Sessions at Attorney General, it’s clear that the forthcoming Trump administration will likely be pushing immigration reform and border security as a top priority.
However, the Associated Press reports that even with a GOP-controlled Senate, Sessions may not sail through his confirmation:
Sessions had been confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate in 1981 to be the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.
In 1986, however, his racially-charged comments and record on civil rights as a U.S. attorney, which Sessions denied and defended, prevented his nomination as judge from going forward, even in a GOP-majority Senate. Sessions later withdrew from consideration, though he went on to become state attorney general and won election to the U.S. Senate in 1996.
“Mr. Sessions is a throwback to a shameful era, which I know both black and white Americans thought was in our past,” the late Massachusetts Democrat, Sen. Edward Kennedy, said during the 1986 confirmation hearing. “It is inconceivable to me that a person of this attitude is qualified to be a U.S. attorney, let alone a U.S. federal judge.”
Inevitably this will come up during his confirmation, though I doubt he will be held up by it as Presidents usually get confirmation for the people they appoint.
Just yesterday, it was announced the Retired General Michael Flynn would serve as Trump’s National Security Adviser. Report from ABC News:
President-elect Donald Trump has named retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his National Security Adviser, according to senior Trump transition officials, rewarding one of his campaign’s most prominent allies with a major role as he seeks to fulfill his promise to better protect the country.
In the role, Flynn will consult with Trump on protecting the country’s citizens, key infrastructure and resources and sit on the National Security Council with Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the incoming secretaries of state, defense and energy, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and other key officials.
Responsible for the country’s military and foreign policy efforts, Flynn will play a sizable role in shaping the Trump administration’s policies, including how to deliver on the campaign promise to “defeat ISIS and radical Islam.”
The role of National Security Adviser is not a cabinet-level position, and does not require Senate approval. However, the role basically gives Flynn the same standing within the administration as cabinet member.
With the Attorney General spot reportedly filled, the next big posts include Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Treasury, among others.