Update 2: U.S. SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS HAS ACCEPTED TRUMP’S OFFER TO SERVE AS U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL -TRANSITION OFFICIAL
Some background on the Sessions appointment, courtesy of Bloomberg, which elevates one of Trump’s earliest congressional backers, and one of the most conservative senators, to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official.
The 69-year-old, four-term Alabama Republican is a hard-liner on free trade and immigration, arguing that prospective immigrants don’t have constitutional protections. He has opposed efforts to overhaul prison sentencing, back off the war on drugs and legalize marijuana.
Sessions, a former federal prosecutor, was one of the few lawmakers to defend Trump after he proposed a complete shutdown on Muslims entering the U.S. He told Stephen Bannon on a radio show in 2015 that Trump was “treading on dangerous ground” but it is “appropriate to begin to discuss” the issue.
The attorney general represents the U.S. in legal matters and gives advice to the president and government agencies. The Justice Department’s broad portfolio includes prosecution of white-collar crime and enforcement of antitrust and civil rights laws. Sessions would oversee all the U.S. attorneys’ offices.
Sessions was born in Selma, Alabama, the son of a country store owner. An Eagle Scout, Sessions received his undergraduate degree from Huntingdon College in Montgomery and his law degree from the University of Alabama. After some time in private practice, he became the U.S. attorney for Alabama in 1981 at age 34. Sessions has served as a captain in the Army Reserve and Alabama state attorney general.
One of his earliest decisions would be whether to follow through on Trump’s campaign promises to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the e-mail practices of his election opponent, Hillary Clinton. Before the election, Sessions called for a special prosecutor.
Trump also has yet to say whether he’ll ask for the resignation of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, who he criticized over the handling of the investigation into Clinton and for not recommending criminal charges against her.
Sessions would also be deeply involved in vetting potential Supreme Court picks for Trump, including one to fill the seat of Antonin Scalia, who died in February.
Sessions opposed all of President Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court picks and also voted against the nomination of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, citing her support for the president’s executive actions that shielded some undocumented immigrants from deportation.
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and also: TRUMP HAS OFFERED CIA DIRECTOR POSITION TO U.S. REPRESENTATIVE MIKE POMPEO, POMPEO HAS ACCEPTED -TRANSITION OFFICIAL
Update: NBC confirms the news, reporting that Trump has offered Jeff Sessions the post of Attorney General
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The positions in Trump’s cabinet are starting to get filled: after last night’s announcement that Trump has offered retired U.S. Army three-star general and one of Trump’s closest advisers Michael Flynn the post of National Security Advisor, moments ago Bloomberg reported that President-elect Donald Trump has settled on Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Trump has formally offered the job to Sessions, a lawyer who was an early and ardent Trump backer. A Trump aide on Thursday night called Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a one-time Trump rival who was also under serious consideration for the role, to tell him the job was instead going to Sessions, according to one of the sources.
Earlier Thursday, Trump telegraphed his decision by praising Sessions’ work as Alabama Attorney General after meeting with Sessions, who also had been under consideration for defense secretary.
At Trump Tower Thursday, reporters in the lobby asked Sessions if he’d like to serve in a Trump administration. “Well, I’d be honored to be considered and Mr. Trump will make those decisions,” he said. Asked if he preferred the attorney general slot, he answered: “I haven’t — if he asked me, I’ll share with him but I’m not talking about my agenda at this point.”
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As for Flynn, named on Thursday to become Trump’s national security adviser, Flynn is now poised for a second act in public life – and he has promised nothing short of an upheaval.
“We just went through a revolution,” Flynn, 57, told a forum on Saturday. “This is probably the biggest election in our nation’s history, since bringing on George Washington when he decided not to be a king. That’s how important this is.”
Flynn’s advocates say his experience battling radical Islamist militants in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with candor that has ruffled feathers in Washington more than once, makes him the kind of ally Trump needs on his national security team. David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who used to work with Flynn, praised his willingness to “speak truth to power and not politicize his answers.”
“Mike Flynn is a straight shooter and a no-bullshit kind of guy. And that’s exactly what we need in terms of senior leaders giving advice to the national leadership,” Deptula said.
His critics voice concerns about a management style that alienated some of his subordinates at DIA, a lumbering bureaucracy that Flynn sought to shake up. That’s an explanation some gave for why he was pushed into retirement. Several former U.S. officials who worked closely with Flynn described him as extremely smart but a poor manager who advocated a precipitous overhaul of the DIA that ignited hostility and resistance from veteran intelligence officials. “Flynn understood that DIA was a mess,” one said.
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Flynn’s pick was most likely catalyzed by his policy views which suggest he will take a more aggressive approach against Islamist militants. According to Reuters, former colleagues expect his effort to bolster America’s battle against jihadists to be shaped by his belief that the United States is losing a global war against Islamist extremism that may last for generations.
In a new book Flynn co-authored, he prescribes a harder political line on Iran, including information warfare to expose shortcomings in Iran’s revolution.
Like Trump, Flynn calls the 2003 invasion of Iraq a strategic blunder and says that energy should have been directed instead toward political support for opponents of Iran’s theocratic rulers.
Flynn shares Trump’s vision of warmer relations with Israel but also advocates stronger ties with Egypt, whose autocratic president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, ousted the Muslim Brotherhood and was the first world leader to congratulate Trump on his victory. Flynn’s appearances on Russia’s government-run broadcaster RT, particularly at a gala last year attended by President Vladimir Putin, have also raised eyebrows in military circles.
However, he has also expressed skepticism about Moscow’s intentions – a view that does not seem to fit Trump’s vision of a new era of detente with the Kremlin.
Although he has more experience battling the Taliban, al Qaeda and other militant groups than anyone else in Trump’s inner circle, Flynn’s critics in the intelligence community and the military question whether his ouster from the DIA has changed him. “The whole experience seems to have made him bitter,” said another former U.S. official who worked with Flynn and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Former colleagues are alarmed by his adoption of Trump’s divisive campaign rhetoric – including leading chants of “Lock Her Up!” aimed at Hillary Clinton during the Republican National Convention and saying on Twitter “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”
“I think what you have is frustration that eventually turns to anger after he leaves,” said this former U.S. official. “He was frustrated over DIA; he was frustrated over administration policy toward Syria; and he’s frustrated and angry over his removal from the Department of Defense.”
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