Senate Republicans warn Trump: We won't confirm another AG this year if Sessions is fired

It’s ironic that Trump, so famous for preaching loyalty and surrounding himself with family, didn’t see the political peril in making a public spectacle of a member of the Senate GOP’s “family.”

Begun, the backlash has.

Grassley’s the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. If he says they won’t hold hearings on permanent replacements for Sessions this year, then that’s that. Trump has options short of confirmation, as Ed noted earlier, but no good ones. It looks like the Senate won’t formally adjourn next month, which would bar a recess appointment; failing that, he’d be stuck with Rod Rosenstein or forced to elevate one of the thousands of DOJ employees who currently qualify for the GS-15 federal pay scale, which would be bizarre. He’s boxed himself in. He played a game of one-dimensional chess, and lost.

And the consequences may reach further than just the Attorney General position.

Trump’s habit of bullying his allies has sown seeds of doubt about whether any political sacrifice by a GOP lawmaker will be rewarded — or even remembered — by the president…

What bothers lawmakers the most is that Trump seems to want to embarrass his targets…

Another senator said Republicans on Capitol Hill know there’s no guarantee that taking a political risk to do the president a favor will be remembered or rewarded in the future.

“That’s self-evident,” said the lawmaker.

Exactly the mindset you want your caucus to have as you’re asking them to eat a giant sh*t sandwich for you on health-care reform. The anger goes beyond the Senate, too. Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus, representing the populist and establishment wings of the party, have each reportedly begged Trump to back off of Sessions in the past few days, fearing that part of his base is going to turn on him over it. If that happens, his already weak job approval will turn toxic. Even the friendly confines of Fox News have turned hostile over this, with Tucker Carlson using the 8 p.m. hour to blast Trump for dogging the AG publicly. As I write this, news is circulating that Sessions will give his first interview about this fiasco tonight. Guess who landed him for the appearance.

Here’s Lindsey Graham, who was raving about Trump’s foreign policy and natsec team just a few months ago, warning the president there’ll be “holy hell to pay” if he cans Sessions. Maybe Trump’s gotten the message: This morning was the first time in several days that he didn’t tweet about the AG. Watch to the end of the clip and you’ll see that Graham also warns Trump against firing Bob Mueller, and is promising legislation to back that threat up. He’s writing a bill that would make any firing of the special counsel by the president subject to judicial review. That would probably be unconstitutional under the “unitary executive” theory of presidential power, but we’ll find out.