Trump picks attorney general and UN envoy in fresh staff shake-up

Monday, 10 December 2018 01:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Spokesperson Heather Nauert (L) listens while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks with reporters in his plane while flying from Panama to Mexico - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In another senior staff shake-up inside his often turbulent administration, US President Donald Trump said on Friday he has picked the two people he wants to be the next US attorney general and the next US ambassador to the United Nations.

He said he will nominate William Barr, who was attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush in the 1990s, to fill that top job again at the US Justice Department.

Barr would replace Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has been in that position since Trump forced out Jeff Sessions as attorney general a month ago.

Trump said he will put forward State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as ambassador to the United Nations. Nauert, a former Fox News Channel host, would replace Nikki Haley, who said in October she would resign at the end of this year.

Both are likely to face tough questions at their Senate confirmation hearings. 

Democrats called Nauert unqualified and said they were concerned about Barr’s independence.

Republicans said they were pleased with both nominees.

Trump was expected to name the Army’s top general, Mark Milley, as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the country’s top military position, US officials told Reuters.

Separately, two sources told Reuters that John Kelly is expected to resign in coming days as White House chief of staff after months of speculation.

The proposed changes come as the Republican president faces another difficult stretch.

Democrats are promising aggressive oversight of Trump’s administration and business activities when they take control of the US House of Representatives in January following their gains in last month’s elections.