Sessions: Standing up to Trump
“Let us now praise Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III,” said Dana Milbank in The Washington Post. President Trump’s attorney general is politically backward in almost every single way, from his hostility to the Voting Rights Act to his fierce opposition to even legal immigration. “But it turns out that, deep down, Sessions has a redeeming characteristic: a quaint faith in the rule of law.” President Trump has repeatedly attacked Sessions for refusing to quash the Russia investigation while demanding the Justice Department investigate the White House’s political enemies. Sessions has quietly stood his ground, but after Trump once again publicly accused him of disloyalty last week, Sessions pushed back, saying, “The actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” For the attorney general to defend the rule of law should not be an act of “heroism,” but in the age of Trump, that’s what it is.
Trump yearns to replace Sessions with a loyal flunky who’d end the Russia investigation, said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. But he’s been constrained by warnings from Republicans that he couldn’t get “Senate approval for a suitably hackish replacement.” Firing Sessions to quash special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, Republicans fear, would unleash a damaging constitutional crisis. But that calculation appears to be changing. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley last week both declared their support for Trump appointing a new attorney general after the midterms. The president, Graham said, is “entitled to an attorney general he has faith in.” Why shouldn’t that be the case? asked Adam Mill in TheFederalist.com. Under the Constitution, the voters exercise their control over the executive branch through the president. The Justice Department works for Trump, and if Trump believes that Sessions has mismanaged the ballooning Russia investigation, it’s not only his right to say so, “it’s his duty.”
President Trump is “absolutely entitled” to an attorney general who will work for his policy priorities, said Cameron Smith in the Birmingham, Ala., News. But that’s not all Trump wants from Sessions. He wants Sessions to make his personal legal problems go away. “That’s what fixers do. Attorney generals don’t…or at least they shouldn’t.” Luckily for the country, “Sessions isn’t willing” to be Trump’s fixer. If he gets fired, we’d better demand that “the same can be said of our next attorney general.”