President Donald Trump has reportedly raised the prospect of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as the relationship between Trump and his embattled AG grows increasingly strained.
Axios’ Mike Allen reports that Trump has mused about tapping Giuliani for AG in private conversations with senior aides. The president is still allegedly fuming about Sessions’ March decision to recuse himself from the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which prompted the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Trump is also reportedly deeply distrustful of the deputy AG.
Trump has privately and publicly lambasted the AG in the intervening months, most recently in a Monday morning tweet that characterized Sessions as “beleaguered.”
Giuliani is currently a partner in the New York offices of Greenberg Traurig, where he chairs the firm’s cybersecurity and crisis management practice.
Before he was elected New York City mayor in 1993, he served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and as Associate Attorney General in the Reagan administration, the third highest post at the Department of Justice.
Though Sessions is reportedly something of an isolated figure inside DOJ, his ouster could land a devastating blow at a demoralized Department.
“I would say the mood is one of sober resignation,” a current career Justice Department attorney told BuzzFeed News. “I’m not hearing anyone complain about the criticism of Sessions himself (who commands little respect), but Trump’s attitude that the AG, and by extension the Department as a whole, exists solely to defend him is deeply concerning.”
It is not clear that Giuliani could secure confirmation in the Senate without promising to recuse himself from the Russia probe. Like Sessions, Giuliani was a prominent Trump surrogate who spoke for the campaign in media and at the 2016 Republican National Convention. As such, the pressure to recuse both inside and outside the Department would be intense.