Trump selects candidates for attorney general, CIA boss
US president-elect Donald Trump has tapped two senior leaders of his national security and law enforcement teams: Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Representative Mike Pompeo as CIA chief, a statement said Friday.
The incoming commander in chief also appointed retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn, a top military advisor for Trump and one of his earliest campaign surrogates, as his national security advisor.
All three have accepted their appointments, the Trump team’s statement said.
“I enthusiastically embrace president-elect Trump’s vision for ‘one America,’ and his commitment to equal justice under law. I look forward to fulfilling my duties with an unwavering dedication to fairness and impartiality,” said Sessions, age 69 and a 20-year veteran of Congress.
“Anyone looking for signs that he [Trump] might be a more moderate president might not be too reassured by these names that are being put out there,” FRANCE 24’s International Affairs commentator Douglas Herbert said.
In choosing Senator Sessions as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Trump awarded a loyalist whose hardline 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.
“I enthusiastically embrace president-elect Trump’s vision for ‘one America,’ and his commitment to equal justice under law. I look forward to fulfilling my duties with an unwavering dedication to fairness and impartiality,” said Sessions, age 69.
Trump’s transition team put out a statement on Thursday praising Sessions after their meeting a day earlier.
“The president-elect has been unbelievably impressed with Senator Sessions and his phenomenal record as Alabama’s attorney general and US 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”.
Mike Pompeo, 52, was elected to Congress during the tea party wave of 2010. He has been a fierce critic of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, which granted Tehran sanctions relief for rolling back its nuclear weapons program.
The Kansas Congressman has also said that Muslim leaders are “potentially complicit” in terrorist attacks if they do not denounce those made in the name of Islam. “They must cite the Koran as evidence that the murder of innocents is not permitted,” he said in a 2013 House floor speech.
A member of the House Intelligence Committee, Pompeo called former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s actions “lawless,” referring to Snowden’s cataloguing of surveillance programmes that found the US government collected the phone records of millions of Americans.
In 2014, he was appointed to the House Select Benghazi Committee to probe the 2011 attack on the US diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)