Donald Trump kicked off the weekend by reminding America that he’s probably going to fire his Attorney General for refusing to launch investigations into the political rivals of the presidency, because that’s what one does when one is an aspiring autocrat.
On Thursday, under fire both from the White House and from at least two prominent Republicans, Sessions stood fast, releasing a rare statement that found the embattled AG insisting that as long as he’s at the helm, the Justice Department will not be beholden to the political whims of the President.
“I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action”, Sessions said, before adding the following caveat:
However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.
That certainly seemed like a vote of confidence in the Department amid Trump’s ongoing attempts to malign it.
On Friday, Trump mocked Sessions’ statement. “‘Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations'”, Trump tweeted, quoting Sessions before saying this:
Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants. Look into all of the corruption on the “other side” including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr……FISA abuse, Christopher Steele & his phony and corrupt Dossier, the Clinton Foundation, illegal surveillance of Trump Campaign, Russian collusion by Dems – and so much more. Open up the papers & documents without redaction? Come on Jeff, you can do it, the country is waiting!
That came after Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley both suggested they would be on board with removing Sessions if that’s what Trump wants. “The president’s entitled to an attorney general he has faith in, somebody that’s qualified for the job, and I think there will come a time, sooner rather than later, where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice”, Graham mused on Thursday.
In response, Ben Sasse said this on the Senate floor:
I just would like to say in public what I’ve been saying to my colleagues and a message that I just communicated to the president of the United States. And that is that it would be a very, very, very bad idea to fire the attorney general because he’s not executing his job as a political hack. That is not the job of the attorney general. The attorney general’s job is to be faithful to the Constitution and to the rule of law.
Sessions apparently agrees and appears to have reached his limit with this president. It is now abundantly clear that Jeff isn’t going to marshal the resources of the Justice Department in an effort to stamp out dissent and shut down a legitimate probe into whether a sitting U.S. president colluded with a hostile foreign power and then subsequently endeavored to obstruct the investigation into that alleged collusion.
Unfortunately, Jeff Sessions is what counts as a “hero” these days. Here’s the Washington Post documenting how surreal this situation has become:
Let us now praise Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.
Rejected for a judgeship by the Senate over accusations of racism, the Alabamian later became a senator known for hostility toward the Voting Rights Act, outspoken opposition to (even legal) immigration, and being the first senator to back Donald Trump for president.
But it turns out that, deep down, Sessions has a redeeming characteristic: a quaint faith in the rule of law.
Well, on Saturday, Trump dropped the sarcasm from his tweets when it comes to Sessions’ contention that he will not ever allow the Justice Department to become a political tool of the presidency.
“Jeff Sessions said he wouldn’t allow politics to influence him only because he doesn’t understand what is happening underneath his command position”, Trump tweeted on Saturday morning, before reiterating his characterization of Mueller as “Highly conflicted”. He also lashed out at the “gang of 17 Angry Dems” who Trump says are “having a field day.”
Ominously, Trump also quoted Graham, a clear indication that he knows he has a powerful GOP enabler when it comes to ousting Sessions.
The President is still tweeting as we close this post. We’ll just give him the last word:
At some point I may have to get involved!