President-elect Donald Trump has offered the key cabinet post of Attorney General to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), according to a person familiar with the decision, giving the job to one of his most trusted supporters and a longtime critic of U.S. immigration policy.
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Mr. Sessions is expected to accept the offer. On Monday, he told reporters that "I'd be honored to be considered" for a cabinet-level post, but that "Mr. Trump will have to make that decision."
The Alabama Republican is a former U.S. attorney who was first elected to the Senate in 1996. He was one of Mr. Trump's first supporters on Capitol Hill, as both Mr. Sessions and Mr. Trump are considered outsiders from the mainstream GOP establishment. As Mr. Trump's popularity grew in the past year, he kept Mr. Sessions close, considering him a close adviser on a number of issues, particularly national security and immigration.
Several years ago, when a bipartisan group of senators tried to hammer out a compromise bill to overhaul immigration rules, Mr. Sessions became one of the strongest opponents of the package.
Mr. Sessions said the lawmakers, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), were pursuing a bill that would allow "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants. The bill passed the Senate, but the groundswell of opposition that Mr. Sessions helped establish prevented it from being considered in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Sessions has served in the Senate armed services, judiciary, and budget committees, among others.
His career hasn't been without controversy. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated Mr. Sessions for a federal court judgeship, but he wasn't confirmed by the Senate amid accusations that he had made racist comments. Mr. Sessions has apologized for some of the comments he made at the time .
The selection of Mr. Sessions offers more clarity into how Mr. Trump is assembling his government.
Mr. Sessions is an early pick for Mr. Trump's White House cabinet. Mr. Trump previously has announced that Reince Priebus will be chief of staff, Steve Bannon will be chief strategist, and Ret. Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn will be national security adviser.
Messrs. Flynn and Sessions have been at times eschewed from Washington policy circles for controversial opinions and statements, but they have been very loyal to Mr. Trump throughout his campaign. The senior level staff he is putting together, at least at this point, appears to represent a group of people with whom he feels very comfortable and who have been loyal to him throughout his candidacy.
Messrs. Flynn, Sessions, and Bannon are also people who exemplify a rejection of the Washington status quo, as they are each unapologetic about their strongly held views.