We are one of the few western democracies that mistakenly merged these roles into one. Our attorney general is supposed to both advise the president politically, as Sessions has done with regard to immigration reform and other matters. But at the same time, the attorney general is supposed to be the head law enforcement officer of the United States – the chief prosecutor.
This conflation of roles inevitably creates a schizophrenic attorney general with conflicting loyalties and obligations. It is because of this inherent schizophrenia that our country has had to suffer the appointment of special counsel, independent prosecutors, and the like. I say “suffer” because even the strongest advocates of these artificial positions concede that they operate outside of the usual prosecutorial role. We wouldn’t need them if we adopted the English or the Israeli approach, which totally separates the role of political advisor from the very different role of chief prosecutor.