Trump taps Sessions for attorney general, Pompeo for CIA: transition official

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 18, 2016 8:05 AM

By Steve Holland

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has tapped three senior leaders of his national security and law enforcement teams, choosing Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general, Representative Mike Pompeo as CIA director and General Mike Flynn as national security adviser, a transition official said on Friday.

The transition official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the announcements would be made formally on Friday.

All three men have accepted Trump's offer, the official said.

In choosing Sessions as the nation's chief law enforcement officer, Trump would award a loyalist whose hard-line and at times inflammatory statements on immigration were similar to his own. Sessions opposes any path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and was an enthusiastic backer of Trump's promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

Sessions, 69, a former Alabama attorney general and U.S. attorney, has received a telephone call offering him the job, according to CBS News.

Bloomberg reported a Trump aide called Senator Ted Cruz, another possible contender for the job, on Thursday night to tell him Sessions would get the position.

Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer, who is involved in the Trump presidential transition, would not confirm the reports on CNN. "Until Donald Trump says it, it's not official," Spicer said.

However, Trump's transition team put out a statement on Thursday praising Sessions after their meeting a day earlier.

"While nothing has been finalized and he is still talking with others as he forms his Cabinet, the president-elect has been unbelievably impressed with Senator Sessions and his phenomenal record as Alabama's attorney general and U.S. attorney," the statement said.

An Army veteran, Sessions is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chairman of its Strategic Forces Subcommittee.

The 20-year congressional veteran could face resistance as he seeks Senate confirmation.

In 1986, Sessions became only the second nominee in 50 years to be denied confirmation as a federal judge after allegations that he had made racist remarks. Those included testimony that in 1986 he had called an African-American prosecutor "boy," an allegation Sessions denied.

Sessions said he was not a racist, but said at his hearing that groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union could be considered "un-American."

(Reporting by Steve Holland, Patricia Zengerle, Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)