McCarthy, other Republicans back Ratcliffe to be next attorney general

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySteve King says he will run again in 2020: 'I have nothing to apologize for' Steve King spins GOP punishment into political weapon Steve King asks for Congressional Record correction over white supremacist quote MORE (Calif.) and other top Republicans are calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE to name Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeFBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it The family secret Bruce Ohr told Rod Rosenstein about Russia case Dems seize on Trump feud with intelligence leaders MORE (R-Texas) as the next attorney general.

"Look, it's the president's choice ... but one thing I know is John Ratcliffe probably has the best abilities to do the job and most knowledge to do the job," McCarthy told The Hill on Friday. 

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Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, is one of several people mentioned as possible contenders to succeed Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump says he hasn't spoken to Barr about Mueller report Ex-Trump aide: Can’t imagine Mueller not giving House a ‘roadmap’ to impeachment Rosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' MORE, who resigned under pressure from Trump last week. Other names in the mix include Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Trump picked Matthew Whitaker to serve as acting attorney general, a move that has come under criticism in part because of Whitaker's public bashing of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation.

Other Republicans in the House are also backing Ratcliffe, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. 

"He is a very bright lawyer. He's been a U.S. attorney. He's done federal prosecution. He knows the law as well as anybody," said Rep. Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonHouse panel advances bill to expand background checks for gun sales Lawmakers push crackdown on foreign lobbyists House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (R-La.), who was elected on Friday to chair the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest conservative caucus in Congress. "He's one of the sharpest members of the House Judiciary Committee in recent years. And I think he would serve the country very well." 

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzHouse passes border deal, setting up Trump to declare emergency Parkland parents create anti-gun violence Valentine’s Day candies: ‘Don’t shoot,’ ‘he’s gone’ House conservatives blast border deal, push Trump to use executive power MORE (R-Fla.), a Judiciary Committee member, told The Hill that he has advocated for Ratcliffe to be the attorney general during one-on-one conversations he has had with the president. McCarthy and Gaetz are among the president's closest allies on Capitol Hill and speak with him regularly. 

Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerPartnerships paving the way to sustain and support Historically Black Colleges and Universities Lawmaker seeks to ban ex-members from lobbying until sexual harassment settlements repaid Florida governor suspends Palm Beach County elections supervisor MORE (R-N.C.), the outgoing RSC chairman, echoed Johnson's remarks, stating that he could not think of someone "more qualified" to be attorney general.

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsFive takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight Winners and losers in the border security deal MORE (R-N.C.), head of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, said while the decision should come down to who the president believes can best serve him, Ratcliffe would be a strong choice. 

"Certainly, having served with Congressman Ratcliffe and having an understanding of how deliberative and purposeful he is with his questions and thoughts that he would make an outstanding AG," Meadows said.

Other top Republicans declined to weigh in on the matter. 

"I think there are a lot of good people in the mix right now," said Rep. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Texas man with politician hit list, illegally 3D printed rifle sentenced to eight years The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? MORE (R-La.), who was recently elected to serve as the House minority whip during the next Congress. McCarthy was elected to serve as leader.

"Ultimately, this is a decision by President Trump. And I have full confidence he is going to make the best choice," Scalise told The Hill.

Over the last year, Ratcliffe has been deeply involved in the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform panels' joint investigation into FBI and Department of Justice conduct during the 2016 election.

He is often seen walking the halls with Oversight Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyThe family secret Bruce Ohr told Rod Rosenstein about Russia case Trey Gowdy joins Fox News as a contributor Congress must take the next steps on federal criminal justice reforms MORE (R-S.C.), a close friend who has dismissed claims that he is also seeking to become — or is under consideration for — attorney general.

Republicans have voiced concern over whether Bondi or Christie could win Senate confirmation.

It is unclear when Trump will pick a permanent successor to Sessions.

Scott Wong contributed.