Sessions: I'd recuse myself from decisions relating to Hillary investigations

Not just the wise move, but the right move … albeit a familiar one. During his confirmation hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions got challenged on his comments about FBI and Department of Justice actions on probes of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal. Sessions agreed that his campaign comments “could place my objectivity in question,” and committed himself to recusal on any further decisions regarding potential prosecution of the Clintons:

Judiciary chair Charles Grassley didn’t appear completely satisfied with the answer Sessions first gave, and teed up a yes-or-no answer, in which Sessions affirmed his commitment to recusal. That is a wise decision, even if it may have limited impact. After all, he’s still the AG, and those deputies who do handle those decisions will have to answer to the boss at some point. The best path for these investigation would be a special prosecutor, but that also is freighted with political baggage.

If that seems familiar, it should. Loretta Lynch semi-recused herself, kinda-sorta, after getting caught having an inappropriate tête-a-tête with Bill Clinton just as the e-mail probe was finishing up. She said she would approve whatever decisions career prosecutors made, but got let off the hook when James Comey publicly stated that he would recommend no prosecution take place.

It’s still a wise move, as Sessions wants to show his commitment to the rule of law. He made it clear that he sees the AG role as enforcing the law, not as a policymaker. If the courts uphold Roe v Wade and same-sex marriage, Sessions testified, then he’ll enforce those laws regardless of what he thinks about them:

And that means saying no to the White House when necessary:

Sessions sounds like a major upgrade over the past eight years … at least. He should easily sail to confirmation on a party-line vote after these reassurances, and might even pick up a Democrat or two.

NPR’s live stream of the confirmation hearing is below: