AG Sessions’ Future Uncertain
With a steady increase in the level of hostility directed at United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions by President Trump, and a refusal on the president’s party to commit to a decision regarding Sessions’ future, uncertainty continues to linger around the federal government’s position of “top cop.”
In February of last year, Sessions became the first United States Senator to endorse then-candidate Trump, an influential endorsement that was widely seen as a coup for Trump, who was in the midst of a close battle for the southeast with Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Sessions’ involvement in the campaign continued to increase, ending with his nomination for the next attorney general in November.
Following his decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. elections, the relationship between Sessions and President Trump became increasingly fraught. Over the past week, the president took to Twitter to repeatedly criticize Sessions, calling him “bealeaguered,” criticizing his ostensible failure to investigate Hillary Clinton, and tweeting on July 25th, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!"
President Trump continued the attack in an interview with the New York Times, in which he said, “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else. Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.”
During White House press briefings this week, reporters consistently asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether the president’s comments indicated Sessions would be relieved of his post, to which she responded, “Look, I know that he is frustrated and certainly disappointed in the attorney general for recusing himself but, as we've said, I think that's a decision that if the president wants to make, he certainly will. … That frustration certainly hasn't gone away, and I don't think it will.”
Law enforcement groups largely rushed to Sessions’ defense, with the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association releasing a statement saying, “We value Attorney General Sessions and his staff for engaging the perspective of national law enforcement organizations, and demonstrating their respect for stakeholder input. We remain confident that Attorney General Sessions will continue to excel as our nation's top law enforcement leader, and we are inspired by his commitment to mending the fractured rule of law.”
The public shaming of Sessions has even raised the ire of Republicans in the U.S. Senate, with the New York Times noting that at least a dozen Republican Senators – including Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn – had publicly called for the ongoing feud to end immediately, with Cornyn saying Sessions’ removal would be “incredibly disruptive.”
Senator Lindsey Graham took a particularly forceful tack in his response, saying, “This effort to basically marginalize and humiliate the attorney general is not going over well in the Senate. I don't think it's going over well in the conservative world. If you believe Jeff Sessions should be fired, use the power you have and accept the consequences. I hope it stops. I'm 100% behind Jeff Sessions. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, sent a tweet yesterday: "There will be no confirmation for a new attorney general in 2017. If Jeff Sessions is fired, there will be holy hell to pay. Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong.”
Posted in General News