President Donald Trump's best route to replace Jeff Sessions would be the "Vacancies Reform Act," which gives him authority to appoint an acting head of the Justice Department with someone who has already been confirmed, The Washington Post reported.
The catch: Sessions would have to resign as attorney general to keep the courts away, the Post reported.
"The statute says that it applies when the current officeholder 'dies, resigns or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office,'" Georgetown University law professor Paul Butler told the Post. "That suggests that there might be a difference and the act might not apply if the person is fired."
So Trump could ostensibly replace Sessions with Energy Secretary Rick Perry — appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, the Post reported.
Using the Vacancies Act might seem extreme, but Trump's other options are fraught with even more doubt, the Post reported:
- The traditional way via Senate confirmation. Not going to happen, not this year, says judiciary committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley.
- Appoint Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which wouldn't change much for Trump.
- Recess appointment, which would invite in a review and possible reversal from the judicial branch, not to mention a brawl from Democrats and likely some Republicans, too.
"The bottom line is that if Trump wants to put his own person in place, a person who would have supervisory authority over the special counsel and have the ability to dismiss the special counsel, then this Vacancies Act is his best route," Butler told the Post.
But Sessions has to quit first.
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