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McCarthy, other Republicans back Ratcliffe to be next attorney general

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyRepublican House campaign arm rakes in .7 million in first quarter McCarthy asks FBI, CIA for briefing after two men on terror watchlist stopped at border Harris in difficult starring role on border MORE (Calif.) and other top Republicans are calling on President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE to name Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeFormer Trump officials eye bids for political office Grenell congratulates Buttigieg on becoming second openly gay Cabinet member Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official 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 SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden administration should resist 'slush-fund' settlements Garland should oppose Biden effort to reinstate controversial 'slush funds' practice 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 (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump 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 JohnsonCompanies sidestep self-imposed bans on GOP donations House GOP holdouts muddle Trump vaccine message Cassidy defends vote to proceed with Trump trial after GOP backlash 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) Gaetz Ex-Rep. Katie Hill: 'Gross' for Gaetz to invoke my name House panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations House Ethics Committee opens probe into Gaetz 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 WalkerNorth Carolina mayor Rett Newton launches Senate bid Lara Trump 'absolutely' considering Senate run The two women who could 'cancel' Trump 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 MeadowsStephen Miller launching group to challenge Democrats' policies through lawsuits A year with the coronavirus: How we got here Trump attacks Karl Rove: 'A pompous fool with bad advice' 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 ScaliseRepublican House campaign arm rakes in .7 million in first quarter The Hill's Morning Report - Biden seeks expanded government, tax hikes A number of Republican lawmakers are saying no to COVID-19 vaccines 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 GowdyTrey GowdyPompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy The Hunter Biden problem won't go away Sunday shows preview: Joe Biden wins the 2020 election 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.