UPDATE: On Friday morning, multiple outlets reported that Donald Trump had selected Alabama senator Jeff Sessions as his pick for Attorney General.
The Attorney General occupies one of the more powerful positions in the U.S. government, acting as the country’s head lawyer and overseeing the FBI and a host of other crucial agencies. President-elect Donald Trump is in the process of deciding who he wants for this vital role. Unsurprisingly, some of the leading candidates are very, very terrible.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
Although Trump claims to be an anti-establishment candidate, he’s had the support of Sessions, a Senator since 1997, from day one. Sessions has long been a darling of the conservative movement, and if there’s a Republican position you don’t like, he’s probably for it.
But before he was a senator, Sessions was just a simple country lawyer trying to get a job from Ronald Reagan. Reagan appointed Sessions to the federal judiciary in 1986, but his confirmation hearing in the Senate did not go smoothly, with several witnesses testifying about racist remarks Sessions had allegedly made.
A black colleague said Sessions called him “boy” and that the future Senator said he “used to think [the Klan] were O.K.” until he found out they smoked pot. Another witness said Sessions called the ACLU and NAACP “un-American” or “communist inspired.” Sessions’ denied making the statements but said that he sometimes jokes in an off-color way. Haha, funny jokes! He also had a bad record when it comes to voting rights.
The Republican-controlled committee denied Reagan his judge pick, voting 10–8 against recommending Sessions. So instead of a lifetime federal appointment, Sessions went on to a Senate career, where he would serve on the very committee that denied him his job. He has distinguished himself by refusing to consider President Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland and suggesting that being gay should disqualify someone from serving on the Supreme Court, among other dubious career highlights.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach
Kris Kobach is among the most terrifying of all the Trump cabinet appointees being discussed because of his successful track record of putting his extremist views on immigration and voting into law.
Kobach has never held a public officer higher than secretary of state in Kansas, which has little responsibility other than to run the state’s elections. Yet, since being elected in 2011, Kobach has labored hard to use that position to turn Kansas into a model for Republican control over who can and cannot vote.
He led efforts in the state to require proof of citizenship—a birth certificate or passport—in order to register to vote. The Wichita Eagle says this policy blocked 20,000 people from voting in 2014 when Republican Gov. Sam Brownback won a close election race. During that same election, Kobach also tried to keep a Democratic Senate candidate on the ballot after he had dropped out.
But he is better known for his anti-immigrant positions. As a college professor, he wrote SB1070, the infamous law passed by the Arizona Legislature that gives law enforcement the ability to demand to see proof of citizenship from any person who they suspect of being in the country illegally. Most of the law was found by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional.
Even if Kobach doesn’t become attorney general, his influence is already being felt as a Trump adviser. In an interview with Fox News, he said that the Trump campaign would move to have undocumented immigrants deported when they are arrested, rather than convicted. (So long, due process. We had a good 240 years.) He also revived the idea from Trump’s campaign of creating a special registry for Muslims.
Sen. “Lyin'” Ted Cruz, R-Texas