Sometimes a story develops so much momentum in the national discussion that it can become a fait accompli before the principals involved have made up their own minds. The story about Attorney General Jeff Sessions either being fired or quitting is rapidly approaching a tipping point in that direction. Allahpundit was just asking how many hints Sessions would need before he simply quits. (For the record, Sessions recently said he’s not going anywhere, but I’ve lost track how many times government figures have said very nearly the same thing only days before packing up their things and heading out of town.) The Beltway press have certainly been beating the drum steadily. The WaPo described Trump’s actions as having left Sessions twisting in the wind. And according to some interpretations, President Trump is just dissing the guy right and left. (Associated Press)
President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.
The president’s anger again bubbled into public view Monday as he referred to Sessions in a tweet as “beleaguered.” Privately, Trump has speculated aloud to allies in recent days about the potential consequences of firing Sessions, according to three people who have recently spoken to the president. They demanded anonymity to discuss private conversations.
I get that the President is frustrated over the Russia, Russia, Russia stuff and he’s unhappy that Sessions recused himself, but failing to do so would have simply given the MSM one more item to criticize him over. If he’s not careful, the Attorney General might start believing all of the press and develop enough of a complex to simply resign on his own. That’s assuming that Trump didn’t actually want him to resign, of course. But if he does, why not just call him aside and ask for his resignation? That gives Sessions the chance to release a statement saying it was his own decision and he didn’t want to become a distraction to the President’s agenda or some other face saving maneuver.
A departure by the Attorney General doesn’t look like it really solves anything anyway. Let’s say Sessions is on the way out. Who does Trump get to replace him? People are kicking around Ted Cruz’s name, but… seriously? They’ve done a fairly decent job of getting on the same page in terms of the legislative agenda (mostly) but is the President really thinking of making “Lying Ted Cruz” part of his executive level team? There’s a lot of history between those two and none of it is great. And why would Cruz want the job if he still has his own personal aspirations toward national office simmering on the back burner?
Some of those same people are talking about Rudy Giuliani, but he’s already as much as said he wouldn’t want the job and he’d have recused himself also were he in Sessions’ place. Who else? Chris Christie? I think he’s already lining up a gig as a sports announcer and he’s one of the few Republicans in the country with an approval rating lower than urinary tract infections right now.
We’re not even sure if Trump is seriously considering firing Sessions, but if he is he may want to think twice. Why? How about loyalty? And I’m not just talking about loyalty to the President personally (though he was one of the first prominent figures to endorse Trump and has remained a steadfast advocate for him ever since). What Sessions has demonstrated far more powerfully is his loyalty to the President’s agenda and many of the campaign promises he made, at least where they apply to the Justice Department. He’s been going after sanctuary cities and supporting the wall in the face of massive media opposition. He’s pushing the tough on crime approach in all the cities with rising murder rates and supporting law enforcement officers in keeping with one of Trump’s earliest executive orders. In fact, the majority of the newsworthy activity coming out of the Justice Department this year could have been taken directly from a 2016 Trump campaign rally speech.
So why get rid of him? Aside from the Russia recusal what has the guy really done to deserve this level of antipathy? He’s been a loyal foot soldier for the administration and that’s a quality in short supply these days. There’s still time to tamp down all of these stories with a strong statement of support from Trump and he might want to consider doing that before Jeff Sessions begins believing his own press and leaves on his own. And if that happens, you can bet he’ll be testifying before one committee or another in short order, very likely with a chip on his shoulder.