By SANDRA RODMAN, Associated Press President Donald Trump’s former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate next week as the most senior law enforcement official in the country.
He will replace former President Barack Obamas Attorney General, Loretta Lynch.
Trump, who has taken to the White House and appeared on television to call on Sessions to resign, did not say he was disappointed by the news.
“I’ll give Jeff Sessions a big hug, but it’s a big day for America and a big night for Jeff Sessions,” Trump said in a televised address.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that he is confirmed.
It’s a long and hard process, but Jeff Sessions is going to be a tremendous Attorney General.”
Trump has long sought to fill a top Justice Department position, saying he believes Sessions will be “strong and decisive.”
But some in his party say they are nervous about a president who has made a career of attacking the judiciary and defending his supporters.
Sessions, who is now retired from the US Department of Justice, has repeatedly questioned the credibility of a special counsel investigating Trump’s 2016 election campaign, and has criticized the way the president’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was indicted on federal charges in the Russian government’s attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.
He also has questioned the president on Twitter and in the White Senate press briefing room.
A lawyer for Sessions, Brian Hale, said in an email to AP reporters that the president “believes Jeff Sessions will do a great job” and called him a “great guy.”
Trump’s attorney general nominee has a history of controversial statements and actions, and the Trump administration’s initial vetting of his nomination was delayed for weeks.
Sessions has also drawn criticism for his past criticism of the judiciary, saying it was “outrageous” that the Supreme Court justices had to make “some of the most outrageous decisions.”
Trump called the justices “so radical and so biased” and said he would appoint the first African-American justice on the court, and called for a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s handling of classified information while secretary of state.
The president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner also said in December that “it is not the place of a federal judge to be politically correct,” and in February told CNN that he does not believe the justice department has the authority to investigate Trump or his family, including his two adult children.
Sessions’ confirmation would likely face some opposition from Democratic senators, who have long argued that his views on the Justice Department and the role of the presidency are out of step with those of the president.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-4 on Monday to approve his nomination, with two Republicans opposing the move and two Democrats voting against it.
Democrats said the vote should have taken place earlier.
Sessions was the first attorney general to be nominated by a Republican.
Sessions previously served as Alabama’s attorney chief, and in 2014 he was elected to a second term as Alabama attorney general.
He has also been a Republican senator and has served as an adviser to Trump, as well as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
The committee approved Sessions’ nomination in a closed-door vote.
The White House had not responded to a request for comment on Monday night.
Sessions said he is not a Democrat and did not know Lynch when he first met her.
He said Lynch was “a good person and an honorable lawyer,” adding that he would be glad to work with her again.
Sessions had a difficult time finding a lawyer for the case, and he was able to get one through the Judiciary Committee, Hale said.
Sessions also is a Democrat, and there were no objections to his nomination from Republicans.
He previously had been critical of Lynch, saying she was not “an ideal candidate” for the role, and that he thought she “was more focused on the Clinton campaign than on justice.”
Lynch, who served as the first U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York from 2013 to 2016, has said she was a “tough but fair” prosecutor and said the Clintons had nothing to do with the FBI’s investigation into Clinton.
Lynch is scheduled to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee next week.
Trump has often attacked the Justice Ministry in general and Sessions in particular, saying the department is “out of control” and that it “does not work for us.”
The Justice Department, he has said, is a “fraud” and is “worse than Watergate.”
Trump also has said that the Justice Dept. has “gone through the motions” of investigating the Clintons and is in the process of “going crazy.”
Lynch said the department’s work is focused on “finding truth and justice in the justice system” and adding that she has been “very happy” working with Trump.