Judge Jeanine Jockeys to Replace Sessions as Attorney General

Jeanine Pirro/ Twitter Screenshot
June 7, 2018

Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News host who will soon be releasing a new book, is jockeying to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to four people familiar with her correspondence.

A former administration official said President Donald Trump previously dangled the possibly of offering Pirro, who is often referred to as Judge Jeanine, a top appointment in his administration during a November meeting in the Oval Office, Politico reported. The same official clarified they think Trump was engaging in flattery and they don't think Trump was seriously going to consider her for a federal judgeship." Pirro has, nevertheless, repeatedly told White House aides and advisers she is interested in serving as the nation's top law enforcement official.

Pirro’s Fox News colleagues have laughed at her frequent mentions of the possibility of getting senior-level government work, according to one Fox employee. Two White House aides said they believe the president is not seriously considering bringing Pirro on to replace current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, despite Trump’s long-standing frustration with him.

But Pirro’s interest in a big administration job has nonetheless drawn notice. Trump, whose relationship with Pirro dates back decades, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing cable news stars into his administration — most recently tapping CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow to be his top economic adviser — and for making key personnel decisions without first consulting aides, including chief of staff John Kelly.

The White House declined to comment. Pirro did not respond to requests for comment.

Adding credence to the possibility of a Pirro appointment, Trump's allies say he is drawn to people who share his worldview on various issues.

"What he wants primarily is an audience. He really wants people who will wander into his office and pay attention while he spouts off," said Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.

Pirro, who speaks with Trump on the phone frequently, has captured Trump's attention by using her show's platform to castigate Trump's opponents and his allies, including Sessions, who she says is not loyal enough. A few weeks ago, Pirro called Sessions, the first Republican senator to endorse Trump,  the "most dangerous man in America." She also attacked House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) last year and said he should step down after he wasn't able to secure the votes for his health care bill.

The Fox News host has been in talks with the administration about a possible appointment since shortly after Trump was elected, according to Politico.

Pirro first began talking with transition aides in late 2016 about joining the administration. Though she expressed interest in the attorney general job, when it became clear that job was going to Sessions, she began pushing for deputy attorney general, according to two Trump administration officials.

Transition aides also discussed tapping Pirro as the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York — a prospect that the president-elect initially favored, though he was ultimately dissuaded by senior aides from making an offer.

Pirro was elected Westchester County District Attorney in 1993, and in 2006, she unsuccessfully ran for a Senate seat in New York against Hillary Clinton. She ran later that year for New York attorney general but lost to Andrew Cuomo, who is currently running for his third term as governor of New York.