President-elect Donald Trump wants Republican Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general of the United States.

The senator and lawyer is one of Trump’s closest advisers and one of the president-elect’s earliest backers, earning him his pick of positions in the new administration. Trump was considering appointing him secretary of defense, but has now selected him for the attorney general position, reports The New York Times.

Sessions is a former prosecutor who has represented Alabama in the Senate since 1996. He serves on the Judiciary Committee, and is known particularly for his hard-line views on immigration and trade, and a bipartisan proposal to cut mandatory minimum prison sentences.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who endorsed Trump very late in the race after challenging him in the primaries, was also on the short list for the position. A Trump aide called him Thursday night to tell him the job would go to Sessions, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Trump had praised Sessions earlier Thursday in a statement, saying he is “unbelievably impressed” with his work as attorney general in Alabama.

Continuing the trend of accusing people inside the Trump administration of racism, news outlets are drudging up old unsubstantiated accusations of racism Sessions faced when he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship in 1986. The accusations, one from a black lawyer who accused him of a racist comment he denied, held up his nomination in the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, and he later withdrew himself from consideration.


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