Donald Trump doesn’t expect Jeff Sessions to be around next year, and the president is reportedly floating five names that he would like to pick as a replacement for the attorney general. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sessions has no plans to retire from his current position, but he believes that he may be asked to resign.
Trump and Sessions have had an acrimonious relationship for some time. The president has frequently criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference, which is being led by Robert Mueller. Last month, the president did an interview with Hill.TV. In that interview, he attacked Sessions.
“I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” Trump said. When asked if he planned to fire Sessions, he was vague. “We’ll see what happens. A lot of people have asked me to do that,” he answered.
Sessions was an early supporter of Trump’s election bid, which is the “only reason” he was given the job of attorney general, according to Trump.
Sessions fired back at the president’s comments with a statement.
“While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations, I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action.”
Trump is reportedly eyeing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, and Transportation Department counsel Steven Bradbury, Judge Janice Rogers Brown and former Attorney General Bill Barr to take over Sessions’ position.
Janice Rogers Brown is a retired judge from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She was appointed by George W. Bush in 2003 and served from 2005 until 2017. Former Attorney General Bill Barr served under the George H.W. Bush administration from 1991 to 1993. Alex Azar heads the Health and Human Services department, which is currently tasked with working with local health authorities to assist in the recovering after Hurricane Michael.
We're working closely with state health & local authorities to save lives and protect health after Hurricane #Michael. This public health emergency declaration will ensure those in Georgia who rely on Medicare & Medicaid have access to the care they need. https://t.co/EEA2AgaOZf pic.twitter.com/4j1Z9zKxVW
— Secretary Alex Azar (@SecAzar) October 11, 2018
John Sullivan replaced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after he was fired by President Trump earlier this year. Steven Bradbury is a lawyer who formerly served in the U.S. Department of Justice under President George W. Bush.
According to people familiar with the situation, Trump doesn’t have any plans to fire Sessions in the short-term. But after the midterm elections in November, senior officials who work with Sessions expect that he may offer his resignation in anticipation of being asked to leave by the president.