This isn’t the first time that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has appeared to be in imminent danger of losing his job, but there are reasons to think that it might be the last. In an interview with Fox News last week, President Trump expressed some of his most grave doubts about the nation’s top prosecutor and his ability to do what needs to be done atop the Justice Department.
“Even my enemies say – ‘Jeff Sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn’t have put him in,’” Trump said. “He took the job and then he said ‘I’m going to recuse myself.’ I said, what kind of man is this?”
Trump has long been extremely critical of Sessions’ decision last spring to remove himself from all Justice Department matters revolving around the 2016 election. After it came out that he’d had a handful of encounters with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak (and, of course, was heavily involved in the election as an advocate for Trump), there came extraordinary pressure from the left for Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. He did so, angering the president, who believes that Sessions could have kept the investigation on a tighter track than the broad-based, anything-goes witch hunt that Robert Mueller has turned it into.
As we said, this isn’t the first time Trump has slammed his AG, but this time, the AG bit back.
On Thursday, Sessions released a statement saying: “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action.”
This was met with yet another broadside from the president.
“’Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations,’” Trump said, quoting the statement. “Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so 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!”
But the real thing that makes it seem as though Sessions’ tenure is just about over is that Republicans on Capitol Hill, after denying that they would go along with a transition at the top of the DOJ for so long, now seem suddenly open to the idea of confirming a successor to the office.
“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,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham. “The idea of having a new attorney general in the first term of President Trump’s administration I think is very likely.”
In many ways, Sessions has done a damn good job in his role at the Justice Department. In others, not so much. And unfortunately, as much as we appreciate the good Sessions has done when it comes to implementing Trump’s agenda and rolling back Obama’s, we can’t ignore that he’s done NOTHING about the subjects Trump mentioned in his tweet. He’s done NOTHING to reign in Rosenstein and Mueller. He’s done NOTHING to protect Trump from the witch hunt being generated from his own agency. Those are not insignificant failings, and Trump has overlooked them for long enough.