Sessions Hangs On

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.

10 thoughts on “Sessions Hangs On

  1. If this Sessions insult-a-thon was a knee-jerk reaction to the recusal, Trump has the slowest reflexes in history. The recusal happened months ago. Comey was fired over the ‘Russia thing’ after the Sessions recusal. Trump announced the firing was to end the investigation, I find it hard to believe there’s nothing there. If you wanted to convince the center that you aren’t working with the Russians, why be so overtly chummy with Putin (a couple of weeks ago), and why publicly resist the notion, even now, that Russia interfered (last week)?

    But I am confused. There’s indications that Sessions had secret meetings with the Russian contact which he claims not to remember. (Intercepted communications with the Kremlin suggest the Russians remember.) If it’s true, Sessions knows about the Russian collusion. I’m no lawyer, but it looks like Sessions could testify about what happened before Trump was inaugurated – and it couldn’t be suppressed under executive privilege. That’s assuming Sessions is not AG and he could get immunity from Congress in exchange for testimony. That makes Trump’s attacks on Sessions look like panic.

    Some have suggested Mueller is going to take a year or more. He’s thorough – not sloppy. Mueller had had great discipline from his team so far. Trump must love the lack of leaks from that group. Maybe Trump thinks he has up to a year to get control of that investigation, but it has to happen from the top – either the head of DOJ or the top guy at the FBI. Or both. With Trump taking shots at McCabe, I conclude Trump hasn’t been able to subvert the FBI.

    Republicans in the Senate are getting vocal in their support of Sessions. These are the swing votes in an impeachment trial, if the House files the Articles of Impeachment and a majority there sent proceedings to the Senate. And Trump continues to tweet abut Sessions. Either Trump is very stupid or very desperate or – as is often the case – there’s something I don’t yet understand.

  2. It’s about loyalty. By recusing himself, as you stated, Sessions became worthless and disloyal in Trump’s eyes.

  3. 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.”

    There’s the key. Sessions traded his equal standing as a man — “he was a Senator” — to become Trump’s bitch. Where Trump says that Sessions probably says to himself, ” what do I have to lose”. In Trumps mind he’s understanding that to mean that Sessions is thinking, “what do I have to gain”. So in Trump’s mind it becomes a Faustian bargain where Sessions is laying down for Trump to be a partaker of Trump’s benevolence in his power to come. I think Sessions didn’t quite understand the full implications of putting himself in a subordinate/ subservient role with a psychopath who interprets the word loyalty to mean absolute obedience to the masters will.

  4. My armchair diagnosis is: Trump is stupid to believe he could run a government like he ran his business and he is getting increasingly desperate. He can only act one way and that is what has been successful for him in the past. He is not being successful now in respect that he is not winning. He is 71 yo and is not going to change. It seems we just have to wait until he does something really stupid or Congress wakes up to the fact that this president is dangerous and will take everyone down with him if he can.
    Trump is probably not innocent but the bottom line is he cannot stand the thought that the American public does not adore him and believe he is the greatest person ever to hold that office. This is what is driving him. He may not be desperate yet but he will get there. One does not have to have a psychiatric/psychology degree to see that there is definitely something wrong with Trump and that he does not have the dignity, morals or ethics to hold that office.

  5. One does not have to have a psychiatric/psychology degree to see that there is definitely something wrong with Trump and that he does not have the dignity, morals or ethics to hold that office

    I’ve heard that some colleges and universities offer what are called life credits. Where they’ll credit you toward a degree with your life’s experience in areas where you’ve gained mastery of a subject that you obtained outside of a formal classroom setting. If I could find out what colleges offer such a program I’d submit an application for a PhD in psychology with an emphasis on understanding the psychopath.
    I could easily do my doctoral thesis on Donald Trump and sycophants that surround him. I could even say I’ve been given, like they say in the Bible, a knowledge that surpasses all understanding.
    Actually, if I submitted a single piece of paper with just, He’s a big bag of shit, written upon it in bold letters I’d probably qualify for a maxima cum laude

  6. Doug, I figure that the Don Jr. revelations are what tweaked him enough to say “ENOUGH! It was bad enough when someone wanted to *prove* that *I*, Donald J. Trump(the nothingth) personally colluded with Russia, when I’m sure there’s no paper trail, and no one who can roll on me without me rolling on them. NOW, though… now they can prove a lot of criminal activity going back years, and ALL BECAUSE SESSIONS DIDN’T QUASH THIS!!!”

    At first, the recusal probably seemed like small potatoes, and then he found out that, CRAP, some of these law enforcement people want to *enforce* the *law*.

  7. Long Haired Weirdo, you’re absolutely right. Trump didn’t really begin to freak out until it sunk in the scope of Mueller’s inquiry included business practices and finances (tax returns anyone?). I’ve posted this before, and still hold, Trump at the end of all this is going down for money laundering.

  8. I was in high school during the Second Red Scare, aka McCarthy Years. In those days you couldn’t even find out what were the crimes Stalin was commonly accused of, because it was feared it would attract people to Communism. There was a joke that if all the FBI informers stopped paying their Party dues the American Communist Party would declare bankruptcy. Yet the PTB continued to claim that the Communists were an existential threat about to destroy our great nation.

    I see the same tactics being applied to the current demonization of Russia. If Russia was interfering in our election I think they were remarkably ineffective. Can anyone point to an actual action that had an effect? I haven’t seen one cited yet. Same with evidence that they were, in fact doing anything out of the ordinary.

    In the McCarthy era, they convinced me that whatever the Communists accused the Capitalists of, which mainly seemed to be exploiting workers, there were really guilty of, and knew it, and felt deep shame, and were terrified that more people would see the truth of that and despise them.

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