Trump Transition: Latest updates on Trump’s choices for key posts

Transition of Power ap_997494135122

NEW YORK (AP) – The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump’s transition activities (all times EST):

11:20 a.m. – A Democratic House member says attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions is the right pick “if you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen.”

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., says no senator has fought harder “against the hopes and aspirations” of Latinos, immigrants and people of color.

Gutiérrez is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. While the Senate, not the House, will decide if Sessions should be confirmed, the comments by Gutiérrez suggest the process will likely be contentious.

Sen. Sessions, R-Ala., is one of the more conservative members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has said the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division should not be used as a “sword” to promote political agendas. The Senate denied him a federal judgeship in 1986 after he was accused of making racially charged remarks while U.S. attorney in Alabama.

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10:50 a.m. – Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley says he is confident his panel would approve the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

Sessions would still face a vote by the full Senate, but a committee endorsement would be a critical first step.

Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, says Sessions is a respected colleague who “has worked across the aisle on major legislation.”

Grassley added that as a former U.S. attorney, Sessions has the right background.

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10:40 a.m. – Mike Pompeo, a conservative Republican congressman from Kansas, says he accepts President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate him to lead the CIA.

In a statement on Friday, he said that while he has loved representing Kansans in Congress, the opportunity to lead a top U.S. intelligence agency is a call to service he can’t ignore.

Pompeo still must be confirmed by the Senate.

The 52-year-old was elected to Congress during the tea party wave of 2010.

Pompeo has been a harsh critic of the Obama administration. He denounced the Iran deal, which granted Tehran sanctions relief for rolling back its nuclear weapons program, and was a member of the congressional committee that blasted Hillary Clinton over the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya.

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8:15 a.m. – President-elect Donald Trump has picked Mike Pompeo – a Kansas congressman – to be CIA director.

That’s according to a Trump transition official.

Pompeo is a conservative Republican and a fierce critic of President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Trump is beginning to fill out his governing team, and the transition official says Trump will make the Pompeo announcement on Friday morning, along with his nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general and his selection of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to be national security adviser.

The official wasn’t authorized to disclose the decisions ahead of Trump’s announcement and insisted on anonymity.

-By Julie Pace

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8 a.m. – President-elect Donald Trump is offering the post of attorney general to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, one of the Trump’s closest and most consistent allies.

That’s according to a senior Trump official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the conversation.

The official on Friday wouldn’t say whether Sessions had accepted the job, which left open the possibility that the arrangement was not finalized.

Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump and was a close adviser throughout the campaign.

Trump released a statement Thursday after a meeting with the senator saying he was “unbelievably impressed” with Sessions.

The Alabama Republican previously struggled with a Senate confirmation hearing when he was nominated for a federal judgeship in 1986. He was dogged by racist comments he was accused of making while serving as U.S. attorney in Alabama.

He later withdrew from consideration for the post.

-By Jonathan Lemire.

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6:50 a.m. – A Republican Party spokesman says President-elect Donald Trump is searching among “the best and brightest in the country” to set up his administration.

RNC communications director Sean Spicer tells Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” the billionaire businessman isn’t “looking at someone’s political affiliation, whether they supported him or not.”

He was asked the question in the context of Trump’s scheduled meeting this weekend with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who earlier this year was a harsh critic of the real estate mogul.

Spicer wouldn’t comment on whether Trump was set to offer Romney a position in the administration now being formed.

But when asked what the pair was expected to discuss, the Republican strategist said only that “they’re going to have a conversation.”

Spicer called Trump the “new sheriff in town” and said he’s determined to bring qualified people into his administration.

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3:35 a.m. – President-elect Donald Trump is offering former military intelligence chief Michael Flynn the position of national security adviser, elevating a fierce critic of current U.S. foreign policy into a crucial White House role.

Flynn’s selection amounts to Trump’s first signal to allies and adversaries about the course he could take in office. It’s unclear whether Flynn, a retired Army general, has accepted the job, though a senior transition official confirmed Thursday that the president-elect has made the offer. The official was not authorized to discuss the offer publicly and insisted on anonymity.

Flynn was a fierce critic of President Barack Obama’s military and foreign policy long before he began advising Trump on national security issues during the presidential campaign. While the position of national security adviser doesn’t require Senate confirmation, Flynn would work in the West Wing and have frequent access to the president.

 

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