New U.S. attorney general likely after elections: Senator Graham

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to reporters in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Thursday it was likely President Donald Trump would pick a new U.S. attorney general in his first term but warned him against doing so until after November congressional elections.

Graham, who is close to Trump, has been a fierce defender of Attorney General Jeff Sessions against criticism from the president and said in July there would be “holy hell to pay” if Sessions were fired.

On Thursday, the Republican from South Carolina said Trump clearly does not have confidence in Sessions.

“The president’s entitled to an attorney general he has faith in, somebody that’s qualified for the job, and I think there will come a time, sooner rather than later, where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice,” Graham told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.

“The idea of having a new attorney general in the first term of President Trump’s administration I think is very likely, Graham said.

He said replacing Sessions before the November election would be a “non-starter.”

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Susan Thomas