Day 188: Trump Tries to Bully Sessions Into Resignation
As Donald Trump does crazy things, his ability to do more of them takes a hit. It seems like both Trump and his team fear that even congressional Republicans have a line that’s too far and Trump risks stepping over it.
Recently, Trump has been asking his inner circle if he can fire his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Recognizing the quandary of his limited capital, his confidantes are advising against it.
According to Axios, Trump abruptly asked one such friend, “What would happen if I fired Sessions?”
Reflecting the conversations going on inside Trumpworld, the political associate says he replied: “If you’re going to fire people at Justice, don’t you want to save that bullet for Mueller?”
Mueller, of course, refers to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating all things Russia. His investigation could easily bleed into the Trump Organization’s ties to the Eastern European nation — and likely will — which would lead him to investigate other crimes, if so happened upon.
Mueller and Sessions are tied together, ironically, by being apart.
When Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation as a result of lying about meeting with Russians during the campaign, his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, appointed Mueller to act as special counsel. Mueller would operate outside the purview of Sessions.
Trump admitted to The New York Times last week that had he known Sessions would recuse himself, he would have picked someone else.
“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. 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.”
This blatantly implies that Trump would love nothing more than to obstruct the Russia investigation. Trump’s own words — “it’s extremely unfair” — acts as a de facto admission that he wants an attorney general willing to protect him from a criminal probe at all costs. The position of attorney general does not exist to protect the president, but rather to represent the U.S. in all legal matters and to supervise and direct various offices, boards, divisions, and bureaus that make up the Justice Department.
Trump knows that getting rid of Sessions and appointing a new attorney general could potentially eliminate the need for Mueller. In Trump’s mind, that attorney general will provide him the cover that he so desires on the Russia front.
Faced with the reality that Mueller has the ability to bring Trump down, and that firing Sessions less than six months after he was confirmed would be a public relations nightmare, Trump has apparently decided to bully-tweet Sessions until he resigns.
It is virtually unprecedented for a sitting president to call out one of his Cabinet members so publicly. Sessions has been largely a disaster as attorney general, but for none of the reasons Trump decries. Trump is back to begging for a witch hunt into his political opponent.
These largely incoherent ramblings have one goal: getting Sessions to pink slip himself.
188 days in, 1274 to go
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