Trump names hardliners for three key appointments, rights activists unhappy

New York [US], Nov. 19 : U S President-elect Donald Trump has named conservatives rather than appointing more moderate-leaning candidates for three key members of the national security team for his administration, signaling he will stand by his hardline agenda on which he campaigned.

Unveiled Friday were nominations of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security advisor, reports the CNN. Sessions and Pompeo would be subject to Senate confirmation, while the position of national security advisor is not.

Since the nominations, many rights activists have condemned Trump for the three cabinet appointments saying it could "undo decades of progress" towards racial equality and effectively legitimise the use of torture.

All three men differ sharply from the Obama administration's doctrine. Sessions is most known for his tough stance on immigration and backed the Trump's proposal early in the campaign to temporary block all foreign Muslims from entering the US - a position Trump has since walked back.

Flynn has a reputation for a fiery temperament and has courted controversy with his strident positions on Islam and terrorism.

He was pushed out as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency for his contentious management style, according to US officials, though he says it was because he raised warnings about Islamic terrorism.

Pompeo, who was not a Trump supporter during the primary, co-authored an "additional views" report to the Benghazi Committee's report on its investigation into the diplomatic mission attack in Benghazi, believing the Republican-led committee's report was not hard enough on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.

Despite Trump's anti-Beltway "drain the swamp" pledge, all three candidates have or have had official positions in Washington.

Flynn, who was pushed out of the Defense Department in 2014, runs a firm that does lobbying. And Sessions and Pompeo come directly from Congress, which has a near-historic low approval rating. As attorney general, Sessions would be ultimately in charge of the prosecutorial decisions made on investigations like the one Comey oversaw on Clinton - and could clash with the bureau director, who is serving a 10-year term.

Trump has pledged to have a special prosecutor investigate Clinton, though he has hedged on whether he will pursue that since being elected.

Source: ANI