Some senior White House aides are encouraging President Trump to move embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions from his post as attorney general to the now-vacant leadership spot at Department of Homeland Security, ABC News has learned.
While some Trump advisers are pushing for this, others aren’t, meaning no decision has been reached and the president and his team are weighing all options.
Sessions has been under fire from the president. Trump has publicly called the attorney general “beleaguered” and said he wouldn’t have named the former Alabama senator to head the Justice Department had he known that Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation, a move that ultimately opened the door to the appointment of a special counsel to lead the probe.
The position of secretary of Homeland Security is now open with Gen. John Kelly moving from that post to become the new White House chief of staff.
Sessions, in an interview with Fox News, called the president’s public criticism of him “kind of hurtful.” When asked if he would step down from his post at the Justice Department, Sessions said he serves “at the pleasure of the president.”
“If he wants to make a change he can certainly do so,” said Sessions. “I would be glad to yield in that circumstance, no doubt about it, but I do believe that we are making tremendous progress.”
Moving Sessions to the Homeland Security role could potentially allow the president to bring in a new attorney general who could take over the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates.
But the prospect of possibly removing special counsel Robert Mueller, who heads the Russia probe, has drawn strong words of caution even from some Republicans.
“Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency,” Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said this week.