Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has emerged as the top pick to serve as secretary of state under President-elect Donald Trump, a senior official in Trump's transition team confirmed Tuesday.
Trump's advisers are also considering former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as a possible candidate for the nation's top diplomat.
Speaking during an event sponsored by the Wall Street Journal in Washington on Monday night, Giuliani said defeating the Islamic State terrorist group was Trump's top foreign policy priority. The former U.S. attorney also downplayed the threat of Russia, blaming President Obama's hesitance to assert military force for Moscow's current power-hold.
"If Rudy wants [State] he'll get it," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News on Monday.
Giuliani made clear he would not serve as attorney general in Trump's administration.
A member of Trump's transition team told CBS News that Bolton would likely be offered another senior White House position if he is not selected as secretary of state. Giuliani said Bolton "would be a very good choice" for the spot.
Trump spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. The transition team said "the two leaders discussed a range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia."
The president-elect has said he hopes to build a closer relationship with Moscow during his administration.