U.S. President Trump and his advisers are privately discussing the possibility of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and some confidants are floating prospects who could take his place were he to resign or be fired, people familiar with the talks told The Washington Post on Monday.
Members of Trump’s circle, including White House officials, have increasingly raised the question among themselves in recent days as the president has continued to vent his frustration with the attorney general, the sources told the newspaper.
Sessions recused himself from federal investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, after it was revealed he had contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
Last month, he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee which is probing the alleged ties between Russia and officials in Trump's campaign.
Trump last week criticized his Attorney General, telling The New York Times he would never have chosen Sessions for the post if he had known he would recuse himself.
Sessions later said he intends to stay in his job despite the criticism from Trump, adding, "I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate.”
Replacing Sessions is seen by some Trump associates as potentially being part of a strategy to fire special counsel Robert Mueller and end his investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election, according to the people, who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.
The president took another swipe at Sessions on Monday, calling his attorney general “our beleaguered A.G.” and asking why Sessions was not “looking into Crooked Hillary’s crimes & Russia relations?”
According to The Washington Post, among the names being floated as possible Sessions replacements are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Giuliani dismissed a report floating his name as a possible attorney general and told CNN that Sessions “made the right decision under the rules of the Justice Department” to recuse himself. He did not return a message seeking comment.
Cruz had said previously that he “did not think it was necessary to appoint a special counsel,” but when Mueller was appointed, he praised him as “an excellent choice.” A spokesman for Cruz could not be reached for comment.