Donald Trump 'offers job of Attorney General to Senator Jeff Sessions'

The 69-year-old senator has been an early supporter of Mr Trump

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Friday 18 November 2016 13:17 GMT
Senator Jeff Sessions, an immigration hardliner, will lead Trump’s foreign team
Senator Jeff Sessions, an immigration hardliner, will lead Trump’s foreign team (AP)

The message is simple: Donald Trump will reward those who are loyal to him.

The President-elect has reportedly offered the job of America’s top law officer to a man once rejected as a federal judge for alleged racism.

CBS was the first to report that Mr Trump offered the position of Attorney General to Jeff Sessions, 69, currently a senator from Alabama and who has played an important role in constructing the tycoon’s policy positions on immigration, counterterrorism and trade.

Mr Sessions was one of the first members of Congress to get behind Mr Trump’s campaign and offered his support at a time when many Republicans on Capitol Hill – including figures such as Speaker Paul Ryan – were seeking to distance themselves from him.

Mr Sessions has served four terms as a senator for the southern state. But he is viewed with great controversy among civil rights activists. Democrats in the Senate, who will need to approve the decision, might try and put up a fight.

The New York Times said that when he was serving as a government prosecutor in Alabama, he was nominated in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship.

However, his nomination was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee – which at the time was controlled by the Republicans – because of behaviour and comments that many considered racist.

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At that time, he was one of two judicial nominees whose selections were halted by the panel in nearly 50 years.

Former colleages told the committee on Capitol Hill that Mr Sessions had referred to the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups as un-American and “Communist-inspired.”

A black federal prosecutor, Thomas Figures, said Mr Sessions had referred to him as “boy” and testified that Mr. Sessions said the Ku Klux Klan was fine “until I found out they smoked pot.” Mr Sessions dismissed that remark as a joke.

Mr Sessions was also accused of speaking disparagingly of the Voting Rights Act and the stringent oversight it placed on southern states.

The news of the job of head of the US Department of Justice being offered to Mr Sessions comes as Mr Trump continues to try and create a new government, for when he assumes the presidency on January 20.

Working out of Trump Tower in New York, he has already made several controversial selections, including Steve Bannon as political advisor. On Thursday night, it emerged he had offered the job of National Security Advisor - a job that does not require congressional approval - to Gen Mike Flynn, who has previously made disparaging remarks about Islam.

On Friday, it was also reported Mr Trump had appointed Congressman Mike Pompeo, a vocal opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, to head the CIA. He will replace John Brennan.

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