(CBS) — Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is a possible contender to permanently replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, sources familiar with the matter tell CBS News. President Trump forced Sessions out as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer on Wednesday, one day after Democrats captured the House in the midterm elections.
Bondi, who is term-limited as attorney general in the Sunshine State, has long been a Trump ally. During the 2016 presidential primary season, Bondi said she had been friends with Mr. Trump “for many years.”
Sessions left the Justice Department for the last time Wednesday evening, flanked by a crowd of well-wishers. His former chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, is now the acting attorney general. The president announced Sessions’ ouster shortly after a fiery press conference with reporters in the East Room of the White House. At the time, the president said he didn’t want to discuss Sessions’ future.
“I’d rather answer that at a little bit different time. We’re looking at a lot of different things, including Cabinet,” the president said. Soon after, the president announced Whitaker’s appointment on Twitter.
Bondi, Florida’s first female attorney general, fought vigorously against former President Barack Obama’s agenda. She signed onto a lawsuit by a number of states challenging Obama’s Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals program, which Mr. Trump tried to end. She also joined a lawsuit attempting to overturn the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Bondi is no stranger to controversy involving Mr. Trump. Last year, a Florida state prosecutor said a bribery complaint against Mr. Trump and Bondi lacked enough evidence to move forward. The complaint was filed over a $25,000 campaign contribution Bondi received from Mr. Trump through his foundation in 2013, around which time Bondi’s office was being asked about alleged fraud at Trump University.
It’s unclear how long Mr. Trump will take to select a new permanent attorney general. Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway told reporters Wednesday she’s “not aware” of the timeline.
Reporting by Major Garrett and Fin Gomez. Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.