Let’s say Trump fires Jeff Sessions, which seems a little more likely after the most recent Trump attacks on him as well as Lindsey Graham signaling he would be open to Trump replacing him. I doubt that Trump would be happy with Rod Rosenstein in the top seat, even temporarily, and assume he would go simultaneously. The wikipedia article for AG states that associate AG Jesse Panuccio is third in line for the job, should Rosenstein be fired simultaneously. After that it seems there isn’t a clear line of succession. I assume a replacement to Trump’s liking would likely be someone extremely controversial that would have a tough time in the senate. So what would happen in the meantime? I’m not familiar with Mr. Panuccio and whether or not he’s someone who is qualified for the AG position or if Trump would be satisfied with him in charge, even temporarily. Is there a likely scenario where Sessions goes and Rosenstein stays? Is there any speculation as to who Trump might even consider as a possible replacement? I put this in elections rather than general questions because I’m interested in hearing speculation on the various scenarios and not just the cut and dry line of succession for AG.
In the 1973 Saturday Night Massacre, the Acting AG was eventually Robert Bork, the Solicitor General, the U.S. Government’s top appellate lawyer, at the time third in line at the Department of Justice. I agree it looks like Panuccio would be the top official if Sessions and Rosenstein were shown the door tomorrow.
I would not be surprised to see the President nominate Rudy Giuliani as the next AG. He has DOJ experience and has certainly been an ardent (if not always capable) advocate for Trump.
I don’t think that’s right. Panuccio is acting associate attorney general (and is not senate confirmed). The position is vacant. Under this order by then-AG Lynch (which I believe is still operative), it would be the Solicitor General followed by the Assistant Attorney General for OLC (both of which positions are filled with senate confirmed appointees).
Trump would not have to accept the presumed next-in-line to take the position on an interim basis. Under the Federal Vacancies Acthe has the option of selecting a loyalist who was Senate confirmed to some other position, even if in a different agency, or Trump would select a senior career bureaucrat from within the DOJ to fill the role. Such temporary appointment usually are limited to 210 days, but the clock can restart for various reasons possibly allowing someone filling in that role to serve longer.
So fire Sessions and Rosenstein, move in a crony from another agency who shuts down the Mueller probe, and watch heads explode. If Republicans hold the House in the mideterms then I think its a 50/50 chance that Trump goes this route declaring that the election was the people speaking saying enough is enough and its time to put a stop to Mueller.