Texas se­na­tor could (but prob­a­bly won’t) suc­ceed Jeff Ses­sions as at­tor­ney gen­eral

Star-Telegram - - News - BY GOR­DON DICK­SON gdick­son@star-tele­gram.com Gor­don Dick­son: 817-390-7796; @gdick­son

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has been men­tioned as a pos­si­ble suc­ces­sor to Jeff Ses­sions, who was ousted as at­tor­ney gen­eral by Pres­i­dent Trump the day af­ter the midterm elec­tions.

But the Texas Repub­li­can says he isn’t pur­su­ing the at­tor­ney gen­eral job and prefers to stay in the Se­nate.

“I love my job in the Se­nate and I think I have fi­nally been here long enough that I have fig­ured out how to do that,” Cornyn said Fri­day in Fort Worth, where he was a speaker at a Tar­rant Re­gional Trans­porta­tion Coali­tion lun­cheon. “As I told the pres­i­dent pre­vi­ously when he asked me if I would con­sider be­ing FBI di­rec­tor, I said ‘Mr. Pres­i­dent, I think I can serve the coun­try and help you by serv­ing in my cur­rent po­si­tion.’ And that’s still my be­lief.”

Cornyn is a for­mer Texas at­tor­ney gen­eral, and also served on the Texas Supreme Court.

The fo­cus of the lun­cheon was mostly about traf­fic and mo­bil­ity in the Dal­las-Fort Worth re­gion, which faces ever-in­creas­ing trans­porta­tion chal­lenges as the re­gion con­tin­ues to be one of the na­tion’s fastest-grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and jobs cen­ters.

But Cornyn — who faces re-elec­tion in 2020 — also fielded ques­tions from the em­cee, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, about the com­bat­ive, par­ti­san at­mos­phere in Wash­ing­ton.

The se­na­tor said he be­lieves both par­ties are “in the process of re­align­ment” as elected lead­ers try to fig­ure out how to find fa­vor with vot­ers — many of whom want their re­spec­tive par­ties to mod­ify long-held po­si­tions on is­sues such as free trade.

Cornyn said the strong run­ning by Demo­cratic can­di­date Beto O’Rourke, who nearly un­seated fel­low Texan Ted Cruz in an un­der­dog bid for the state’s other Se­nate seat, shows that politi­cians “can’t take Repub­li­can vic­tory in Texas for granted any­more.”

He also ac­knowl­edged that it’s not al­ways easy to work with Pres­i­dent Trump.

“Peo­ple ask what it’s like to work with the pres­i­dent, and hon­estly his style is not my style,” Cornyn said. “But my job is to work with the pres­i­dent and work with my col­leagues for the bet­ter­ment of the coun­try.”

So, does Cornyn think Ses­sions, who re­signed un­der pres­sure from Pres­i­dent Trump, was treated fairly?

“He (Ses­sions) is a lawand-or­der guy. That’s my kind of at­tor­ney gen­eral. But clearly he had a con­flict with Pres­i­dent Trump,” Cornyn said. “I be­lieve the of­fice of the at­tor­ney gen­eral is one of the most dif­fi­cult jobs to nav­i­gate in the cab­i­net be­cause while you’re the chief law en­force­ment of­fi­cer of the coun­try you also serve at the plea­sure of the pres­i­dent, which makes it a po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ment . ... So now the in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge he (Trump) will have is who the pres­i­dent will nom­i­nate as suc­ces­sor — and can they get con­firmed by the Se­nate? That’s go­ing to be the next chal­lenge.”

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