President-elect Donald Trump plans to name his picks for three key posts: Michael Flynn for national security adviser, Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Rep. Mike Pompeo for CIA director.
President-elect Donald Trump plans to name his picks for three key posts: Michael Flynn for national security adviser, Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Rep. Mike Pompeo for CIA director. That's according to Sean Spicer, a Republican National Committee official involved in the transition. Another official with knowledge of the matter also tells NPR's Carrie Johnson that Sen. Sessions has been offered the attorney general position. The attorney general and CIA director nominees will need to be confirmed by the Senate. The national security adviser does not need Senate confirmation.
Sen. Jeff Sessions
The 69-year-old Republican senator, who has been offered the position of attorney general, was one of the first lawmakers to ally himself with the Trump campaign. He embraces a forceful anti-immigration platform and a tough approach to fighting crime. Sessions is a former longtime U.S. attorney in Alabama who went on to serve as the top Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees Justice Department and FBI operations.
But earlier in his career, that same committee denied him a position as a lifetime-tenured federal judge after lawyers testified he had used racially insensitive language. Sessions apologized for saying he thought the KKK was OK "until I found out they smoked pot," describing the episode as a joke. His positions on social issues including same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization and funding for stem-cell research are conservative. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reported earlier this year, Sessions had a controversial career as a prosecutor and allegations of racism have followed him for decades. He first rose to national attention when he prosecuted three black civil rights workers for voter fraud; a defense lawyer called it "voter persecution," and the jury returned no convictions.
The president of the NAACP called Sessions' appointment "troubling," while a legislative counsel at the ACLU called him "the senator with probably the most anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-child record in the Senate." Former Alabama Congressman Jo Bonner, a Republican from Sessions' hometown of Mobile, said President-elect Trump "has supreme confidence in Sen. Sessions' judgment, his wisdom, his character and his loyalty."