For cripes sake. How many controversies have these people weathered without walking out? Trump could have Sessions thrown off a mountain and they wouldn’t resign. If him dogging his AG every week on Twitter wasn’t enough to convince them to quit, they’re not going to do it once POTUS finally, finally sacks up and fires the guy.
But it’s sort of newsy that the idea is being floated. Someone wants Trump to believe this might happen (even though it won’t) to deter him from dropping the axe so they’re whispering to the Wall Street Journal about it. I wonder who it could be.
The same morning as Mr. Trump was venting his frustration at the Justice Department, five Republican senators [Cornyn, Tillis, Moran, Sasse, Kennedy] met Mr. Sessions last Thursday for breakfast in his personal dining room on the fifth floor of the department’s headquarters. Their message: hang in there despite Mr. Trump’s broadsides, according to senators and aides…
Mr. Sessions signaled that he is tiring of the barrage from Mr. Trump, GOP senators said, but that for the moment he feels obligated to remain in his post to avoid the political and legal turmoil that would stem from his departure…
White House chief of staff John Kelly has made clear he does not want to see Mr. Sessions fired, a person close to the White House said. Should Mr. Trump remove the attorney general, it could touch off a wave of resignations in the West Wing, this person said.
Sessions allegedly finds Trump’s attacks “dispiriting” and “personally taxing and painful,” which, well, yeah. Gabriel Sherman reports that White House “senior officials” (Kelly again, maybe?) tried to stage an intervention of sorts on the Sessions matter by inviting Trump buddies like Giuliani and Tom Barrack to a meeting to get him to calm down. But Trump wouldn’t take the meeting, not wanting to sit through a lecture about cuck concepts like decorum. If you believe Sherman, he also seems disinclined to take Don McGahn’s advice that pardoning Paul Manafort is stupid (and probably pointless) and might bring in an outside lawyer to draft the pardon if McGahn refuses to do it once Trump eventually asks him to. Between that and McGahn’s many hours of chatting with Mueller, it’s a cinch he’ll be gone sooner rather than later. The only question is whether it’s before or after Sessions.
One possible reason why Sessions supporters are rattling their sabers in the Journal today is because, er, POTUS has reportedly been talking openly to aides lately about finally canning him. (“A senior White House official said the goal was to delay a firing, because Trump’s advisers do not think that stopping it is possible.”) Sessions’s opponents were rattling their own sabers in other media outlets yesterday, in fact. The president’s most loyal crony in evangelical America told Politico that it’s time for him to go:
“He really is not on the president’s team, never was,” [Jerry] Falwell [Jr], the president of Liberty University, said of Sessions. “He’s wanted to be attorney general for many, many years. I have a feeling he took a gamble and supported the president because he knew he would reward loyalty.”
Falwell said he has urged the president to fire Sessions and told POLITICO he planned to bring up the subject again Monday evening at a small gathering with Trump and the first lady…
“A lot of Republicans pretend to be friends to conservatives and the faith community for decades when they really were not,” Falwell said. “I don’t know if he’s in that category. If he was really a fair person, he’d be going after both sides.”
Someday Falwell and Trump will realize that the more they demand publicly that the DOJ prosecute their political enemies, the more politically untenable they make that for the Department. It’s one thing to grumble that Sessions should have indicted Hillary or Comey whoever in his first few months as AG, but to still be attacking him knowing that any decision to act now would make it look like he caved to political pressure to take revenge on the GOP’s partisan enemies is idiotic. If, that is, the point here really is to get him to indict Hillary or Comey. If instead the point is to magnify ancillary grievances against Sessions to ensure Trump will have support on the right if he fires him, then the strategy’s fine. Just as no one thinks John Brennan would have lost his clearance for lying to Congress years ago if he had only complimentary things to say about Trump, no one thinks Trump would be mad at Sessions for failing to investigate Hillary or the FBI if he had “protected” him by un-recusing from the Russiagate probe and shutting it down. We’re awash in pretexts for presidential actions against enemies who share a common crime: “Disloyalty.”
Here’s Cocaine Mitch signaling that he’s still on Team Sessions even if Trump is not. Time to start thinking seriously: With Sessions’s departure increasingly likely after the midterms, who might realistically succeed him who’s both (a) loyal enough to satisfy Trump and (b) independent enough to satisfy a Senate majority that’s skeptical of Trump’s intentions towards Mueller and the Russiagate investigation? Giuliani or Christie probably couldn’t get confirmed, even with the GOP still holding an advantage of a few seats. But a career prosecutor probably couldn’t get nominated since Trump would have no reason to think they’ll be stricter with Mueller than Rod Rosenstein is. Is Lindsey Graham the only realistic alternative? Maaaaaaybe Ted Cruz? Would either Graham or Cruz (assuming he wins in November) want to trade a safe Senate seat for a stint as AG that might be short and very unpleasant? That’s the trade Jeff Sessions made, after all. We can all see how it worked out.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has “total confidence” in Attorney General Jeff Sessions pic.twitter.com/WcFFsLwXys
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 28, 2018