McConnell: Next attorney general won’t come from Senate

McConnell: Next attorney general won’t come from Senate
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Mueller report is a deterrent to government service Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Anti-smoking advocates question industry motives for backing higher purchasing age MORE (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that it’s up to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE to pick a potential successor for Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAnd the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin The Memo: Mueller's depictions will fuel Trump angst Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump MORE, but the nominee won’t come from the Senate.

"It's not going to come from our caucus, I can tell you that. 51-49, you can do the math. We're not doing that,” McConnell said Wednesday during an Associated Press Newsmakers interview.

Senate Republicans have previously warned Trump against firing Sessions, who served in the caucus for decades and is still widely respected by his colleagues.

But some senators have signaled they believe Trump will fire Sessions after the November midterm elections. Sessions was Trump’s first Senate supporter, but their relationship quickly soured after Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Russia's election interference.

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"Who the attorney general is is up to the president. We confirmed Jeff, most of us worked with him for a long time. But in the end, the president decides who the attorney general is and he'll have to make that call himself,” McConnell added.

McConnell’s comments also come amid intense speculation that Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars DOJ: Dem subpoena for Mueller report is 'premature and unnecessary' Dems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions MORE (R-S.C.) could be trying to position himself to be Trump’s next attorney general.

But Graham’s staff and Trump both shot down that chatter this week.

Trump told reporters that Graham “wants to stay right where he is.”

"Certainly I would," Trump said when asked if he would give Graham a place in his administration. "But I think he's really happy."

Months of speculation that Trump could fire Sessions or Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinEx-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' Mueller questioned by TV journalist over details of report Cummings: Barr acting like 'defense counsel' for Trump rather than AG MORE has sparked concerns about the implications for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s investigation.

Rosenstein oversees that probe because Sessions recused himself.

McConnell on Wednesday declined to speculate about if he would want a successor for either Sessions or Rosenstein to protect Mueller, but indicated he was glad the president didn’t fire the deputy attorney general.

"I don't think that would have helped the president. ... I think it would not have been in his best interest to do that,” he said.