President Trump is reportedly considering Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, among others, to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Transportation Department general counsel Steven Bradbury, retired Judge Janice Rogers Brown and former Attorney General Bill Barr, who served under former President George W. Bush, are also being considered.
Some White House officials noted to the Journal that there are no plans currently in place to force Sessions out of his job. They added that while Trump has lashed out at Sessions with growing regularity, he has rarely discussed who might replace him.
The Journal reported that Sessions does not plan to to leave, but expects he may be asked to resign.
The news outlet’s reporting comes a day after The Washington Post reported that Trump spoke with Sessions’s chief of staff, Matthew Whittaker, about taking over the attorney general job.
The president and Sessions have developed an acrimonious relationship over the past year, particularly as it pertains to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump has frequently chastised Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the investigation, which is being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. In an interview last month with Hill.TV, Trump blasted Sessions, claiming he doesn’t “have an attorney general.”
Trump’s recent escalation of his criticism has fueled speculation he may fire the attorney general, though he told Bloomberg in late August that his attorney general would stay on at least through the midterm elections.
Sessions, who was one of Trump’s earliest supporters and previously served as an Alabama Senator, has largely refrained from publicly responding to the president’s barbs.
In a rare statement in August, Sessions asserted that the Justice Department “will not be improperly influenced by political considerations” amid criticism from Trump that he was not looking closely enough at alleged Democratic misdeeds.