Jul 24, 2017

​Exclusive: Trump ponders Rudy Giuliani for attorney general

Mike Allen, author of AM

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

President Trump is so unhappy with Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he has raised the possibility of bringing back Rudolph Giuliani to head the Justice Department, according to West Wing confidants.

  • In internal conversations, Trump has recently pondered the idea of nominating Giuliani, a stalwart of his campaign.
  • Even before last week's blast at Sessions in a New York Times interview, Trump had expressed fury at Sessions — also one of the first prominent Republicans to back the Trump campaign — for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
  • And in a Monday morning tweet, Trump referred to "our beleaguered A.G." not investigating Hillary Clinton.

Our thought bubble: Trump often muses about possible personnel moves that he never makes, sometimes just to gauge the listener's reaction. So the Giuliani balloon may go nowhere.

As Axios reported Saturday, Newt Gingrich — who also went all-in with the Trump campaign — may take a more visible, frequent role as a defender as Trump girds for battle with special counsel Bob Mueller.

Giuliani would have a tough time getting 50 Republicans senators to vote to confirm him. He was such an early and ardent Trump backer that he wouldn't be seen as an independent guardian of the department in these tumultuous times.

In fact, the nomination could be seen as Trump throwing gasoline on a fire. And Giuliani's stop-and-frisk police policy as New York mayor, and clients since then, also would be controversial with many senators.

Nevertheless, the leaks about Giuliani and Gingrich are revealing in four ways:

  • Trump wants to surround himself with enablers and junkyard dogs, as we saw with the selection of the pugilistic Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director.
  • Presidents like the personnel equivalent of comfort food — people with whom they have a long, happy history. Presidents often find they can only really trust people they knew before they took office, since it's hard to trust new people at the pinnacle of power.
  • Rudy and Newt were both overlooked in the first round of administration picks. By reviving some of his original band members, he's able to blame other people for his problems.
  • And the West Wing conversations show that Trump originals can always come back. Paging Chris Christie!

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Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.