McCarthy, other Republicans back Ratcliffe to be next attorney general

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump tells House investigators 'no' NSA recommends ending mass phone data collection program: report Watchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices MORE (Calif.) and other top Republicans are calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpPresenting the 2020 Democratic bracket The time has come for the Democrats to act, finally DHS expedites border wall replacement in Arizona, Texas MORE to name Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeGrand jury material becomes key battle-line in Mueller report fight Dems escalate Mueller demands with subpoena Congress should take action to stop unfair taxation of the digital economy 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 SessionsJudge: Trump administration has six months to identify separated children Forget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Sessions: It's time to accept the results of the Mueller report and move on 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 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) GaetzCollege Democrats at over 40 schools boycott DCCC over pro-incumbent policy Overnight Energy: Trump moves to crack down on Iranian oil exports | Florida lawmakers offer bill to ban drilling off state's coast | Bloomberg donates .5M to Paris deal Florida lawmakers offer bill to ban drilling off state's coast 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 WalkerMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline Colorado state senators plan to introduce bill to let NCAA athletes get paid Republicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave 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 MeadowsOn The Money: House to vote on bipartisan retirement bill in May | Mexico now biggest US trading partner | Mulvaney defends record on cutting spending Mulvaney on government spending: 'At least I'm losing at the very highest levels' The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? 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 Scalise20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform GOP to launch discharge petition on anti-BDS measure This week: Democrats revive net neutrality fight 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 GowdyHouse Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report Democrats put harassment allegations against Trump on back burner Democrats seize on Mueller-Barr friction 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.