Kris Kobach is not on Trump’s short list for new at­tor­ney gen­eral

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - News - BY ANITA KU­MAR

Pres­i­dent Don­ald

Trump will meet with Flor­ida At­tor­ney Gen­eral Pam Bondi — who is on his short list be his next at­tor­ney gen­eral — while he va­ca­tions at his Mar-A-Lago re­sort in Palm Beach for Thanks­giv­ing next week, ac­cord­ing to a source close to the pres­i­dent.

Bondi, Flor­ida’s first fe­male at­tor­ney gen­eral, is fin­ish­ing her sec­ond term. She is not legally al­lowed to run again, and has been men­tioned as a pos­si­ble ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­pointee since Trump be­came pres­i­dent last year.

Bondi was a Trump sur­ro­gate dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and, more re­cently, a mem­ber of the pres­i­dent’s Opi­oid and Drug Abuse Com­mis­sion.

Trump is con­sid­er­ing sev­eral other well-known of­fi­cials for at­tor­ney gen­eral, in­clud­ing Jan­ice Rogers Brown, a re­tired cir­cuit judge and former Cal­i­for­nia Supreme Court jus­tice who has spo­ken to the White House about the job, ac­cord­ing to a sec­ond source fa­mil­iar with the search.

Three sources said Trump is se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing Bondi for the job. Bondi’s of­fice did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a re­quest for com­ment.

One name not on Trump’s list is Kris Kobach, Kansas sec­re­tary of state and ar­chi­tect of one of the na­tion’s tough­est im­mi­gra­tion laws, ac­cord­ing to the two sources and an­other per­son close to the pres­i­dent.

The pres­i­dent had ini­tially con­sid­ered Kobach, who was de­feated last week in his bid for gov­er­nor, for var­i­ous po­si­tions at the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity but ap­par­ently has soured on him af­ter his elec­toral loss.

Trump abruptly fired At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions last week af­ter crit­i­ciz­ing him re­peat­edly for not re­cus­ing him­self from over­sight of Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether Trump aides col­luded with Rus­sia to in­ter­fere in the 2016 elec­tion.

Trump named Matthew Whi­taker, who had been Ses­sions’ chief of staff at the Jus­tice Depart­ment and served as U.S. at­tor­ney in Iowa, as act­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral. Democrats have been call­ing for Whi­taker to re­cuse him­self from Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause he has been crit­i­cal of it.

Trump will likely pick some­one he has had a re­la­tion­ship with, ac­cord­ing to one of the sources. That list could in­clude former New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie, a long­time Trump ally who does not get along with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kush­ner, a top White House aide. As a U.S. at­tor­ney, Christie pros­e­cuted Kush­ner’s fa­ther.

Christie said this week he has not been con­tacted about the job but he did speak to Kush­ner when he was at the White House for a meet­ing on prison re­form, a source said.

Trump and Bondi have been in reg­u­lar con­tact since the Nov. 6 elec­tion as Flor­ida em­barked on re­counts in both the gov­er­nor and Se­nate races. The pres­i­dent en­dorsed Repub­li­cans Ron DeSan­tis and Rick Scott in those two con­tests and was heav­ily in­volved in the gov­er­nor’s race.

Trump, who spends much of the win­ter in South Flor­ida, is ex­pected to spend sev­eral days at his Mar-A-Lago re­sort next week.

Sev­eral con­ser­va­tive lawyers are rec­om­mend­ing Brown, who stepped down last year af­ter serv­ing a dozen years on the D.C. cir­cuit court, where she served along­side now Supreme Court Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh. She does not have an ex­ist­ing re­la­tion­ship with Trump.

Other names re­port­edly be­ing men­tioned for the per­ma­nent po­si­tion in­clude Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­re­tary Alex Azar, Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment gen­eral coun­sel Steven Bradbury, former At­tor­ney Gen­eral Bill Barr and Deputy Sec­re­tary of State John Sul­li­van. Of those, Trump only has a re­la­tion­ship with Azar.

Bryan Lowry in Wash­ing­ton con­trib­uted.

Flor­ida AG Pam Bondi

Kris Kobach

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