Trump Allies Push Delrahim as Sessions or McGahn Successor

(Bloomberg) -- Some of Donald Trump’s allies are promoting Makan Delrahim, the top antitrust official at the Department of Justice, as a potential replacement for either Attorney General Jeff Sessions or White House Counsel Don McGahn, according to two people familiar with the matter.

They have also recommended Bobby Burchfield, a prominent Republican lawyer at King & Spalding in Washington, for the same jobs, the people said. The Trump Organization hired Burchfield to help it navigate potential conflicts of interest before Trump’s inauguration.

Trump said Wednesday that McGahn would leave the White House after the Senate votes on his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Sessions has been a persistent target for Trump ever since he recused himself from the Department of Justice’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, and the president’s ire toward the attorney general has recently appeared to ratchet upward.

Three people said there is no indication Trump plans to replace Sessions before midterm elections in November -- unless the attorney general somehow crosses the president.

Delrahim, 48, made a name for himself as soon as he took over the Justice Department’s antitrust division last year when he sued to stop AT&T Inc.’s takeover of Time Warner Inc.

The decision was controversial because it was the first time in decades that antitrust enforcers had gone to trial to stop a deal that combined companies operating in different parts of a supply chain. The case raised speculation that it was prompted by Trump’s criticism of CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.

Delrahim insisted the deal would harm consumers by raising the cost of pay TV for subscribers across the country. The antitrust division lost the case at trial and is appealing.

Before joining the Justice Department in September, Delrahim was a deputy to McGahn and helped shepherd Neil Gorsuch’s Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court. He was previously a lawyer at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP.

One of the people said Delrahim is respected among Trump’s advisers for his political savvy.

Delrahim and White House press staff didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Trump allies were pushing Delrahim as a replacement for McGahn.

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