Sen. Phil Williams interviews for attorney general position

State Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, said Gov. Robert Bentley interviewed him today for the state's vacant attorney general position.

UPDATE: Steve Marshall named Alabama attorney general by Gov. Robert Bentley

Williams, who has served in the Senate since 2010, is a lawyer in private practice and a colonel in the Army Reserve.

"A very positive interview," Williams said. "It was very direct, very forthright.

"We spent time talking about not only my personal experience on my resume but also my philosophy on leadership and my love for the law and the practice of law."

Bentley will appoint a replacement for Attorney General Luther Strange. On Thursday, the governor appointed Strange to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions' confirmation as U.S. attorney general.

The governor has not said when he would make his selection.

Among others who have interviewed for the position or talked to Bentley about it include state Board of Education member Mary Scott Hunter; Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall; Chris McCool, district attorney for Fayette, Lamar and Pickens counties; and Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster.

Bentley spokeswoman Yasamie August said the governor's office would release a full list of candidates interviewed when the interviews are completed.

[Related: Who will replace Luther Strange as attorney general?]

Williams was one of 20 candidates Bentley interviewed for Sessions' seat before choosing Strange.

Williams said he told the governor at that time that he would be interested in the attorney general position should Strange get the Senate appointment.

He said the governor called him Thursday night and asked him to come for an interview.

Williams said his work as a lawyer and his military career, which has included receiving two Bronze Star medals for service in Iraq and Afghanistan, gave him a strong base of experience for the job.

"Leadership, administration and the law are three things that have been in my life quite a bit," Williams said.

In November, Strange asked the Alabama House Judiciary Committee to suspend an impeachment investigation of the governor because he said the attorney general's office was conducting a related investigation.

That suspension remains in place.

Williams said he brought up the issue during the interview. He said he would not recuse himself if there is an investigation of the governor's office.

"If we were in an awkward position of there being something that had to be taken care of, that's what I would do because that's the calling that would be placed upon me," Williams said he told the governor.

"I don't want to in any way say that I believe Senator Strange left something unfinished on his desk. I don't know what I don't know right now.

"But I assured him that the job that I'm given, if given it, is the job that I would do."

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Jones said he plans to confer with the attorney general's office soon about resuming the committee's impeachment investigation, which Jones said he intends to do.

Bentley has denied doing anything illegal or anything to warrant impeachment.

The impeachment resolution signed by 23 Houses members last April came after allegations that the governor had an affair with his former political adviser, Rebekah Mason, and questions about whether state resources were used to facilitate the relationship.

Bentley and Mason denied having an affair.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Alice Martin is serving as acting attorney general.

Updated at 4:06 p.m. to add names of some others who have talked or interviewed with the governor about the position.

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