Donald Trump has decided to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who was the first senator to back Trump, to be his attorney general, according to Friday morning reports from CBS News, Bloomberg News, and the New York Times.
CBS News reported that Trump “offered” the post to Sessions, citing “sources directly involved in the selection process,” while Bloomberg News reported that Trump had chosen Sessions but that it was unclear whether the senator had officially been offered the post. The New York Times reported that Trump has “selected” Sessions to be his attorney general.
Sessions’ nomination will likely be met with opposition in the Senate. While serving as a U.S. attorney in Alabama, Sessions was nominated for a federal judgeship in 1986, but he was never confirmed due to past racist comments. He withdrew his name from consideration and went on to be the Alabama attorney general and later a senator.
During the 1986 hearings to consider Sessions, J. Gerald Hebert, a Justice Department prosecutor, testified about how Sessions talked about a lawyer representing a black client. Herbert said that he once told Sessions that a judge had called a white lawyer “a disgrace to his race” for representing black clients. In response, Sessions said, “maybe he is,” Herbert said. Herbert also told Congress at the time that Sessions had called the NAACP “un-American” because the group was “trying to force civil rights down the throats of people.”
An African-American prosecutor testified to Congress that Sessions had called him “boy” and once joked that he felt the Ku Klux Klan “was O.K. until I found out they smoked pot.” Sessions denied called the prosecutor “boy” but not the other comments.
Though Sessions is likely to meet opposition from Democratic senators, it’s not clear how Republicans will approach his nomination now that he is one of their colleagues.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters Tuesday that Sessions “has earned the right to serve Donald Trump in the highest levels.” A spokesman for Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) also said the senator would support Sessions’ nomination.