In case you were wondering whether Donald Trump has forgotten how much he hates his Attorney General, the answer is definitively “no”.
Over the last couple of weeks, the President has been distracted by the increasingly fraught Brett Kavanaugh nomination, the trade war with China, and renewed scrutiny of the administration’s bungled response to Hurricane Maria. But through it all, you can be sure that Jeff Sessions is never far from Trump’s mind.
August brought a veritable torrent of bad legal news for the White House. Paul Manafort was convicted, Michael Cohen flipped and implicated the President in open court, details of Don McGahn’s cooperation with Robert Mueller surfaced and longtime Trump Organization money man Allen Weisselberg was granted immunity by federal prosecutors.
As the bad news poured in, Trump ratcheted up his attacks on Jeff Sessions, insisting the Attorney General launch investigations into a long list of political rivals, questioning the AG’s integrity on national television and berating the former Senator on Twitter. For his part, Sessions fired back in a rare public statement asserting DoJ independence.
On September 3, Trump went so far as to demand that Sessions not indict Republicans even when presented with overwhelming evidence of criminal activity, a move that drew sharp criticism from both sides of the aisle.
The bottom line: Jeff Sessions will likely be fired after the midterms.
Well, in the latest broadside against the Justice Department, Trump told The Hill that he “doesn’t have an Attorney General”. Here’s an excerpt from an interview conducted on Tuesday in the Oval Office:
I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad. I’m so sad over Jeff Sessions because he came to me. He was the first senator that endorsed me. And he wanted to be attorney general, and I didn’t see it. And then he went through the nominating process and he did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused, and people that worked with him for, you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him, but he was giving very confusing answers. Answers that should have been easily answered. And that was a rough time for him.
Right. And the reason it was such a “rough time” for Jeff is because Trump put him in a position where he (Sessions) was effectively forced to perjure himself.
You can read more from the interview here, but suffice to say this is yet another escalation in the increasingly bitter feud between Trump and the DoJ.
More importantly, it’s fresh evidence to support the contention that the President views the nation’s law enforcement apparatus as something that he should be able to avail himself of whenever he wants to persecute political rivals.