Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, July 26th, 2017.

Sessions Hangs On

Trump Maladministration

Donald Trump is transparent in one way — he doesn’t know how to hide his motivations. It’s plain as day he wants Jeff Sessions out at Justice because Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, meaning he’s useless as far as Trump is concerned.

Sessions probably took the job of Attorney General thinking that Trump intended him to be the Attorney General, not the Trump family consigliere. That was an honest mistake. I’ve read a number of news stories over the past few days saying that being AG is Sessions’s “dream job.” And he’s having a grand time reinstating failed 1980s-era drug policies and bringing back civil forfeiture. Further,

Perhaps more than any other member of Trump’s Cabinet, Sessions has been an uncompromising advocate for Trump’s agenda. The attorney general has worked methodically to dismantle Obama’s legacy at the Justice Department: reconsidering the department’s efforts to make troubled police departments change their practices, changing the DOJ’s stance on voter-ID lawsuits, and rolling back former Attorney General Eric Holder’s sentencing guidelines that were aimed at reduced incarceration and balancing out drug-crime-related punishments.

Every pick for a U.S. Attorney’s office that Sessions has made has underscored the administration’s focus on border security. He’s visited the border twice to emphasize a desire to prosecute undocumented immigrants. He’s passionately defended Trump’s so-called travel ban and threatened to withhold funding from “sanctuary” cities.

If you’re a cold-hearted, vindictive right-wing weasel, what could be better? But Trump is not satisfied.

Just today, Trump tweeted his displeasure that Sessions has not fired Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Why should McCabe be fired? Because his wife ran for office in Virginia as a Democrat in 2015 and received contributions from the state Democratic Party.

I understand Trump tweeted those tweets from one part of the White House while Sessions himself was at a meeting in another part of the White House. Trump hasn’t talked to Sessions directly for some time, I understand.

Los Angeles Times:

Trump’s tweets are based on several false claims.

McCabe’s wife Jill McCabe, a pediatrician, ran for a seat in the Virginia State Senate in 2015 and lost to the Republican incumbent.

At the time, McCabe had no role in the Clinton investigation. When Jill McCabe entered the race, her husband was not working at FBI headquarters, but was a senior official in the Washington field office, working primarily on counter-terrorism investigations.

By the time Andrew McCabe did become FBI deputy director in February 2016, which would have given him some role in overseeing the Russia investigation, his wife’s campaign had been over for three months.

Jill McCabe, like most Democratic candidates in Virginia, did receive money from Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and from the state Democratic Party. McAuliffe is a longtime political ally of the Clintons, but there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton was involved in the donations.

And this was yesterday:

Trump continued his assault on Sessions in a Wall Street Journal interview published Tuesday afternoon — this time in highly personal terms. Trump suggested to the paper that Sessions, his earliest endorser among Senate Republicans, had backed Trump’s candidacy only because he saw the big campaign rallies and wanted a piece of the action.

“When they say he endorsed me, I went to Alabama,” Trump said. “I had 40,000 people. He was a senator from Alabama. I won the state by a lot, massive numbers. A lot of the states I won by massive numbers. But he was a senator, he looks at 40,000 people and he probably says, ‘What do I have to lose?’ And he endorsed me. So it’s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement. But I’m very disappointed in Jeff Sessions.”

Ouch. The president of the United States basically just called his own attorney general thirsty. Sessions really stuck his neck out to endorse Trump when all of his colleagues were still skeptical; Trump just spat on that endorsement.

Two days ago, Trump publicly floated the idea of replacing Sessions with Rudy Giuliani. So Trump is making Sessions’s job a living hell, apparently hoping he will resign. Sessions says he’s not going anywhere.

What’s weird about this, though, is that if this is about firing Robert Mueller, replacing Sessions wouldn’t help. Under current law, the only person who could fire Robert Mueller is Rod Rosenstein, the person who hired him. If Rosenstein refused to fire Mueller, Trump would have to replace Rosenstein. But Trump never talks or tweets about Rosenstein. It may be Trump is too brain-addled to understand all the steps.

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