Politics Betting: Will Rudy Giuliani Be the Next Attorney General?
It’s been quite the week in the world of American politics. The current president, Donald Trump, and his predecessor, Barack Obama, have spent the last several weeks furiously campaigning in advance of the midterm elections, which would decide whether the Republicans, who have held the power of the presidency and both houses of Congress since the 2016 elections, would hold onto said power.
Tuesday’s midterms brought largely expected results. The Republicans actually increased their advantage in the Senate thanks to a number of vulnerable red state Democrats losing their seats, but the Democrats managed to seize control of the House of Representatives. This now means the president, whose actions have gone largely unchallenged by his fellow Republicans through the first 2 years of his term, will now have legitimate oversight via the Democrat-held House.
Just a day after the elections, the president made the announcement that embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions had resigned. Sessions’ resignation letter, which was released to the public, started with, “At your request, I am submitting my resignation.” This indicates that Sessions was actually fired by Trump rather than resigning on his own volition.
What happens from here remains to be seen. Trump has installed Matt Whitaker, who was previously serving as Chief of Staff at the Justice Department, as the acting Attorney General, while Rod Rosenstein retains his position as Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein and Trump have had their run-ins in the past, so there’s no telling how long Rosenstein will be sticking around.
Who will be the next permanent Attorney General? Will Trump be impeached now that Democrats hold the House of Representatives? As is the case with just about everything nowadays, these are some politics-related questions you can bet on. Below are the betting odds for who will be tapped to serve as Sessions’ full-time replacement as United States Attorney General:
Next U.S. Attorney General
- Rudy Giuliani +350
- Kris Kobach +350
- Trey Gowdy +400
- Alex Azar +550
- Steven Bradbury +550
- Bill Barr +650
- John Sullivan +750
- Janice Rogers Brown +800
- Scott Walker +900
- Rod Rosenstein +2000
Trump has been publicly bashing Sessions for the better part of his 2 years in office. Despite the fact that Sessions, a former Senator from Alabama, was one of the first in Congress to voice his support of the controversial presidential candidate during the 2016 election, Trump has taken to social media on numerous occasions to vent about Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Special Counsel investigation into whether Trump’s campaign illegally colluded with Russia. The continued public attacks could only be seen as Trump essentially trying to force Sessions to step down himself. Sessions refused, however, which ultimately led to Trump having his own Chief of Staff, John Kelly, fire him.
Trump believes the investigation into his campaign is a “witch hunt” despite the fact that it has already led to a number of federal indictments to those in Trump’s orbit. Because Trump evidently thinks the Attorney General is someone who should work to serve the president’s personal interests directly, he was disgusted with the fact that Sessions recused himself due to his own involvement in the campaign. Sessions’ recusal meant his deputy, Rosenstein, would oversee the investigation, which is being helmed by former FBI director Robert Mueller.
Whitaker will be able to serve as acting Attorney General for 210 days before a full-time replacement must be named. That person will have to be confirmed by the Senate. It’s unlikely Whitaker will keep the job full-time due to what he has previously said about Mueller and the Special Counsel. If not Whitaker, who should take over the Justice Department?
Kobach or Giuliani?
Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has already been floated as a possible Sessions replacement. Kobach has been a Trump ally for quite some time, and he was the man who previously headed Trump’s since-disbanded “voter fraud commission.” Kobach has previously said that he turned down opportunities to work in the Trump administration in order to run for Governor of Kansas. However, Kobach was beaten by his Democratic challenger, Laura Kelly. Trump reportedly balked at getting Kobach, who has been outspoken about immigration, a job in the administration because he feared Kobach would not be confirmed by the Senate. Now that Republicans hold a larger edge in the Senate, though, perhaps he could revisit the possibility.
Now that Kobach is unemployed, could he wind up getting a new gig as Attorney General? It’s certainly possible. Trump and Kobach see eye-to-eye on plenty of things. Kobach’s gubernatorial campaign manager, J.R. Claeys, has since said that Kobach becoming AG is “definitely a possibility.” However, Trump legal advisor Joe diGenova has said that Kobach “isn’t ready to take over a job like that.” Kobach is hardly the first Trump ally to get that label. You can bet on Kobach to be the next AG at +350, which is a favorable price.
The co-leader here is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. Since leaving office, Giuliani has made his way back into the public light by serving as an adamant defender of Trump. Giuliani was initially utilized as a campaign surrogate before informally joining the president’s legal team earlier this year. Giuliani was reportedly a candidate to be Attorney General after the ‘16 election, but the job was ultimately handed to Sessions. Giuliani reportedly held out for Secretary of State before ex-Exxon executive Rex Tillerson took the gig.
If Giuliani were to take the job, though, he would face his own recusal questions. He is clearly fiercely loyal to the president, and he has been outspoken against the investigation more than anybody else in Trump’s orbit. Most believe Giuliani would take the job if offered, but at this point I have a hard time believing he’s a viable candidate. Of the two I think Kobach makes for a far better betting option with both listed at +350. Politics betting can be complicated these days due to the volatile nature of the Trump administration, but I think at this point it’s fair to suggest Kobach is the leader in the clubhouse.
Trey Gowdy is a name you’ll remember if you remember the furor around the Benghazi investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Gowdy was a federal prosecutor before being elected to the House of Representatives serving the 4th congressional district of South Carolina in 2011. Gowdy served 7 years before ultimately deciding against running for reelection in the recent midterms.
Now that Gowdy is out of a job, could he be an Attorney General candidate? Gowdy’s name was floated by Trump in connection with the title of AG in July of 2015, shortly after Trump announced his presidential candidacy. However, Gowdy subsequently endorsed another Republican, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, for president, which soured Trump’s opinion of him. Trump would go on to publicly lambaste Gowdy. Unless things have changed since then, I have a hard time buying into Gowdy as a viable candidate. So, I’ll pass on Gowdy here at +400.
Alex Azar is currently serving as Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary. While his name has been floated recently, Azar is reportedly not interested in the job. If true, he obviously makes for a terrible betting option, so say “no thanks” to Azar at +550.
A more interesting candidate is Janice Rogers Brown, who served on the D.C. Court of Appeals before retiring last year. Brown, who worked previously with the newest Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, has reportedly been in contact with the White House regarding the job within the last few weeks. I think she is being undervalued in the odds here, so I really like Brown as a betting option at +800. There’s an awful lot of profit potential there.
John Sullivan breezed through Senate confirmation by a vote of 94-6 to serve as deputy Secretary of State last year. He has previously held positions in the Justice Department and the Pentagon, so he is pretty well-versed in Washington. He would be a strong option if Trump were to look his way to succeed Sessions, so he makes sense as a value bet at +750 here.
I’ll rank my favorite bets to serve as the next Attorney General as follows:
- Janice Rogers Brown +800
- Kris Kobach +350
- John Sullivan +750
- Rudy Giuliani +350
Will Trump Be Impeached During His First Term?
- Yes +125
- No -155
Back in August we covered a number of Trump-impeachment prop bets. Back then, the odds of Trump getting impeached were listed at -180. Now, they’re in plus-money at +125. As mentioned previously, the Democrats having retaken the House of Representatives means that Trump’s administration won’t be able to breeze through everything unabated the way they did with Republicans in charge.
Will the Democrats move for impeachment? That remains to be seen. Doing such a thing is certainly a risky political gambit, and Democrats are currently trying to claw their way back into power any way they can. Democrat Al Green tried to impeach Trump last year before his efforts were thwarted by the then-Republican-controlled House.
Some that will take senior positions within the House on the Democratic side have already said that they plan to subpoena Trump’s tax returns and conduct investigations their Republican predecessors declined to do. What these things turn up remains to be seen, of course. Remember that impeachment does not necessarily mean a president is ousted from office. President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives, but the Senate subsequently voted against essentially firing him from the presidency. Richard Nixon was impeached and subsequently resigned before the Senate could vote on whether to remove him.
Now that the Republicans have increased their edge in the Senate, a Trump impeachment is unlikely to lead to his ouster from the Oval Office unless some incredibly damning evidence comes to light. So, the Democrats in the House moving to impeach him would be more symbolic than anything else. Whether voting to impeach Trump would lead to Democrats scoring political points with the masses is uncertain.
I still think a “yes” bet here makes sense, especially at +125. We are still waiting on what the Mueller investigation concludes, and that will play a huge role in determining Trump’s future in his current job. I like the profit potential on “yes” at +125 here.
Will Jim Acosta Get His Press Pass Back Before 2019?
- Yes +150
- No -200
During a rare news conference the day after Election Day, President Trump repeatedly lost his temper with reporters whose questions he disliked. One of those reporters is CNN’s Jim Acosta, who has been a Trump target dating back to the days prior to his election. Rather than answering Acosta’s question, Trump repeatedly told the reporter to sit down and called him a “terrible person,” among other things. A White House aide was seen trying to grab the microphone from Acosta’s hand.
A few hours after the press conference, Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, announced that the White House had revoked Acosta’s press credential. Sanders claimed that Acosta “placed his hands” on the aide that was attempting to reclaim the microphone. Acosta denied the accusation on Twitter, and the Washington Post reported that the video Sanders tweeted that appears to show Acosta chopping down at the arm of the aide was pretty clearly doctored in order to make Acosta’s action look more violent than it really was. The Sanders video also conveniently cut out Acosta saying, “Pardon me, ma’am” during the incident.
Some in the press have already railed against the decision to revoke Acosta’s press pass, calling it an unprecedented attack on journalism and reporters by the American government. The “yes” bet here will pay out if Acosta is credentialed by the White House again prior to the calendar flipping to 2019, which is now less than 2 months away. Acosta has drawn the ire of Trump and his allies for quite some time, so it’s fair to assume this move was applauded by many on that side of the aisle.
This administration has been steady in their refusal to admit fault in much of anything, so it will be fascinating to see what comes of this. The move is obviously an unpopular one with the rest of the press corps, I’m inclined to roll with “yes” here at +150 just because it’s difficult to fathom this continuing for another couple of months. Acosta has been a mainstay in following the president all over the country, and Trump has even tweeted in the past that he thinks Acosta is “a nice guy.” I think this will be resolved sooner than later, so bet “yes” at +150 here.