McConnell: Next attorney general won’t come from Senate

McConnell: Next attorney general won’t come from Senate
© Getty

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants GOP rattled by Trump rally Third Kentucky Democrat announces challenge to McConnell MORE (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that it’s up to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE to pick a potential successor for Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHouse gears up for Mueller testimony Trump's no racist — he's an equal opportunity offender Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank 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.


"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 GrahamScarborough sounds alarm on political 'ethnic cleansing' after Trump rally The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants GOP rattled by Trump rally 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 RosensteinFeds will not charge officer who killed Eric Garner The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates MORE has sparked concerns about the implications for 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.

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.