Trump names attorney general, CIA director, national security advisor nominees
President-elect Donald Trump announced the names of his nominees for top national security positions in his cabinet Friday.
Trump said in a statement that he intends nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for the job of attorney general.
“Jeff has been a highly respected member of the U.S. Senate for 20 years," Trump said. "He is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great Attorney General and U.S. Attorney in the state of Alabama. Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him.”
"I enthusiastically embrace President-elect Trump's vision for ‘one America,’ and his commitment to equal justice under law," Sessions said in a statement released by the transition team. "I look forward to fulfilling my duties with an unwavering dedication to fairness and impartiality."
A statement issued by fellow Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby on Friday morning said Sessions "would be an excellent choice for any role in President-elect Trump’s cabinet."
“While there is no doubt that I would miss partnering with my dear friend Senator Jeff Sessions in the Senate, he would be an excellent choice for any role in President-elect Trump’s cabinet. Not only would Jeff bring integrity and immense expertise to the role of Attorney General due to his decades of experience in the legal field and an impressive tenure on the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Jeff has also gained the deep respect of his Senate colleagues for his commitment to upholding the rule of law. My wife Annette and I are proud of Jeff’s accomplishments and wish him and his wife Mary the very best during this exciting transition.”
CNN reports he was the first senator to support Donald Trump during the presidential campaign.
In 1986, Sessions withdrew from consideration for a federal judgeship because he was accused of making racist comments when he was a federal prosecutor in Alabama.
That history could complicate his Senate confirmation process, but Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has already issued a statement saying he expects to report him favorably out of the committee.
In recent years, Sessions has questioned whether terrorism suspects should receive the protection of the American court system, objected to the planned closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and has given prominence to the specter of voting fraud, a problem that current Justice Department leadership believes is negligible.
Another member of Congress, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), has been offered the position of head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
"He will be a brilliant and unrelenting leader for our intelligence community to ensure the safety of Americans and our allies," Trump said.
“I am honored to have been given this opportunity to serve and to work alongside President-elect Donald J. Trump to keep America safe. I also look forward to working with America’s intelligence warriors, who do so much to protect Americans each and every day,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Pompeo was a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi and an aggressive critic of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Several national security experts who had been critical of Trump, including former CIA Director Michael Hayden, have already praised the selection of Pompeo.
Former military intelligence chief Michael Flynn was offered the position of national security adviser, elevating a fierce critic of current U.S. foreign policy into a crucial White House role.
“General Flynn is one of the country’s foremost experts on military and intelligence matters and he will be an invaluable asset to me and my administration,” Trump said of Flynn, who "will be by my side as we work to defeat radical Islamic terrorism."
Flynn said he is "deeply humbled and honored" to accept the position.
The transition team also announced members of its national security landing teams on Friday. These officials, including people with military, political, and corporate experience, will handle communication and coordination with the Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Justice, and the National Security Agency.
Trump has spent the week meeting with potential picks for various cabinet positions. Over the weekend, he will meet with 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who is reportedly under consideration for secretary of state.
Romney blasted Trump in a speech during the Republican primaries, calling him reckless and unstable. He also said Trump's foreign policy views were "very, very not smart."
"Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He's playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat" Romney said at the University of Utah in March.
Trump tweeted last week that Romney had called him and congratulated him after the election.
"May his victory speech be his guide and preserving the Republic his aim," Romney tweeted last Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.