Sessions Fired in First Post-Election White House Move
Trump goes on the offensive to end the year-and-a-half-long Mueller investigation.
It was a long time coming and shouldn’t surprise anyone — Attorney General Jeff Sessions tendered his resignation at President Donald Trump’s request on Wednesday. Sessions and Trump got off on the wrong foot right from the start after Sessions capitulated to Democrat demands that he recuse himself from the investigation into Russian election interference. The two never recovered, as Sessions’s decision paved the way for the creation of Robert Mueller’s special investigation, which has proven to be little more than a witch hunt and a constant headache for Trump.
Predictably, Democrats responded to the news by running to the fainting couches. Senate Still-Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) suggested, “Clearly, the president has something to hide.” Others like Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who just last year demanded Sessions’s resignation, is now blowing the Democrats’ “obstruction of justice” whistle, claiming, “Americans must have answers immediately as to the reasoning behind [Trump’s] removing Jeff Sessions from [the Justice Department]. Why is the President making this change and who has authority over Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation? We will be holding people accountable.”
There is no question that Trump’s timing for firing Sessions was strategically calculated. With Republicans now sitting on an even stronger Senate majority, the president is freer to nominate someone without Democrat obstruction. Second, so long as Sessions was AG, Trump had little prospect of seeing the Mueller investigation either limited in its scope or brought to an end. Trump certainly doesn’t want it dogging him for another two years.
Irrespective of the outcome of the Mueller investigation, House Democrats have made it clear that they will go after impeaching Trump. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway reports that Nadler is planning to go “all-in” on seeking the impeachment of both Trump and Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Trump is certainly aware that no matter what he does, Democrats are gunning for him, and he has clearly decided not to sit back and let it happen.
Indeed, Trump’s choice of Matthew Whitaker as the temporary attorney general demonstrates his intention to fight back against the Democrats. Whitaker has previously criticized Mueller, saying, “It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else. That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.” Of course, Democrats are calling for Whitaker to recuse himself from having any authority over the Mueller investigation. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter who Trump picks for AG — Democrats will demand recusal.
For the time being, the president has an AG who will presumably act to limit the scope of the Mueller investigation to Russian election interference, hopefully bringing this year-and-a-half-long witch hunt about “collusion” to an end.