McCarthy, other Republicans back Ratcliffe to be next attorney general

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats House passes .5B border funding bill Liz Cheney hits back at Ocasio-Cortez over concentration camp comments: 'This isn't model Congress' MORE (Calif.) and other top Republicans are calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump campaign buys full page ads in Miami newspapers ahead of Dem debates Trump administration's 'forced diplomacy' with Iran isn't working Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama MORE to name Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeHillicon Valley: Tim Cook visits White House | House hearing grapples with deepfake threat | Bill, Melinda Gates launch lobbying group | Tech turns to K-Street in antitrust fight | Lawsuit poses major threat to T-Mobile, Sprint merger House Intel to take first major deep dive into threat of 'deepfakes' House passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams 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 SessionsRoy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama Trump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake Nikki Haley blasts Roy Moore's Senate bid: 'He does not represent our Republican Party' 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) 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'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 JohnsonBipartisan senators push new bill to improve foreign lobbying disclosures Overnight Health Care: 'Medicare for All' gets boost from high-ranking Democrat | Anti-abortion group vows to spend M in 2020 election | Dems make Medicaid center of Kentucky governor fight Democrats, Republicans in Congress spar over state abortion laws 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) GaetzOvernight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need exit strategy with Iran | McConnell open to vote on Iran war authorization | Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales Bipartisan House duo unveils amendment to block Iran strike without Congress's approval Top Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan 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 WalkerThe Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? Trump endorses Tillis for reelection in North Carolina Ex-state senator in North Carolina enters race against Tillis 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 MeadowsJared Kushner, Ivanka Trump to appear at fundraiser for Jim Jordan: report GOP moves to block provision banning use of Defense funds for border wall Darrell Issa eyes return to Congress 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 ScaliseTrump knocks Democrats on 'Open Borders' House passes .5B border funding bill Pelosi, Democratic leaders seek to quell liberal revolt over border bill 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 GowdyOur sad reality: Donald Trump is no Eisenhower GOP takes aim at Comey, Brennan House Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report 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.