Yates, Becerra eyed for possible Biden administration roles: sources

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra are being eyed for possible top cabinet positions in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, said two sources familiar with the discussions.

Yates, who currently serves on the advisory board to Biden’s transition team, is “no doubt” being considered as a candidate to become the country’s next Attorney General, said one of the two, who asked to remain anonymous because no decision has been reached.

Republican President Donald Trump fired Yates early in his term, after she defied the White House by refusing to defend travel restrictions targeting seven Muslim-majority nations.

Becerra is a possible choice for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said both sources, one of whom is a Democratic strategist close to Biden’s transition team. Becerra is seen as someone who could help spearhead efforts to reunite the migrant children who were separated from their parents, the same person said.

Democratic Senator Doug Jones, who just lost his seat to Republican Tommy Tuberville, has also come up as a possible name for Attorney General, the first source said. That decision will hinge in part whether Jones wants to run for Senate again in 2022.

Both Yates and Jones, a former federal prosecutor, have a deep understanding of the Justice Department’s inner workings. Biden will likely be looking for someone who can get to work quickly to “restore the independence” of the department and make policing and voting rights reforms an immediate priority, the first source added.

Other names that have been floated for top DHS or DOJ jobs include Alejandro Mayorkas, a former DHS official under Obama, Democratic National Committee Chairman and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and Lisa Monaco, who once served as a homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to Obama.