Trump considering several candidates to replace Sessions: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE is reportedly considering Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, among others, to replace Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage House gears up for Mueller testimony Trump's no racist — he's an equal opportunity offender MORE.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Transportation Department general counsel Steven Bradbury, retired Judge Janice Rogers Brown and former Attorney General Bill Barr, who served under former President George W. Bush, are also being considered.

Some White House officials noted to the Journal that there are no plans currently in place to force Sessions out of his job. They added that while Trump has lashed out at Sessions with growing regularity, he has rarely discussed who might replace him.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Journal reported that Sessions does not plan to to leave, but expects he may be asked to resign.

The news outlet's reporting comes a day after The Washington Post reported that Trump spoke with Sessions's chief of staff, Matthew Whittaker, about taking over the attorney general job.

The president and Sessions have developed an acrimonious relationship over the past year, particularly as it pertains to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

Trump has frequently chastised Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the investigation, which is being conducted by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE. In an interview last month with Hill.TV, Trump blasted Sessions, claiming he doesn't "have an attorney general."

Trump's recent escalation of his criticism has fueled speculation he may fire the attorney general, though he told Bloomberg in late August that his attorney general would stay on at least through the midterm elections.

Sessions, who was one of Trump's earliest supporters and previously served as an Alabama Senator, has largely refrained from publicly responding to the president's barbs.

In a rare statement in August, Sessions asserted that the Justice Department "will not be improperly influenced by political considerations" amid criticism from Trump that he was not looking closely enough at alleged Democratic misdeeds.