Not A Man For All Sessions

By Susan Kuebler

CNN has just broken the story that Donald Trump has asked U. S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign last May following the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel.  Sessions offered his resignation at the time, which Trump then rejected.  But once again in July Trump was furious with his most loyal supporter.  And again wanted him to resign.

Business Insider and other news outlets, including the New York Times, quote Sessions as saying it was “the most humiliating experience he’s undergone in decades of public life.”  According to the stories, after the Mueller appointment in May Trump called Sessions “an idiot” and said his appointment was the worst decision he had ever made.  This would back up earlier reports leaked to New York Times reporters that Trump’s new Chief of Staff, Marine General John Kelly admitted to aides that “he had never been spoken to like that in his 35 years of military service.”

What should be important is that Trump has ignominiously humiliated a man who was the first member of the Senate to support his candidacy.  Sessions was the face that went before the public last week to announce that the White House (i.e. Donald Trump) would be ending the Deferred Action Against Children (DACA) program which permitted children brought to this country by their parents while underage to remain.

Following a dinner meeting last night with Democrat leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, Trump indicated that now he might support continuing the DACA program.  As he tweeted out earlier today,

Well yes, Jeff Sessions really does want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people.  From the beginning he has been a strong advocate for stricter immigration laws and for deporting thousands, if not millions, of undocumented people within the U.S.  Trump rode to victory on Session’s strong immigration stance, coupled with Trump’s promise of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico that Mexico would pay for.  And Trump just effectively cut him off at the knees – via Twitter.

The Trump/Sessions relationship was severely strained when Sessions recused himself from the Justice Department/FBI investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election.  The fact that Sessions did the right thing, in fact, he had no choice other than to recuse himself because of his own involvement in the Trump campaign, did nothing to assuage Trump’s outrage.  He knew, even though Trump had no concept, that the U.S. Attorney  General is not the President’s personal lawyer.  It is not the job the Attorney General to defend the President; his role is to enforce the laws of the land.

Trump had no qualms about publicly humiliating Sessions at the time, but backed off somewhat after the AG’s former colleagues in the Senate came to his defense. In addition, other aides were able to persuade Trump that firing Sessions so soon after Comey’s dismissal would not be good politics.

Those same Senators are not going to be pleased with this treatment of the person they confirmed to be the U.S. Attorney General, and Trump’s recent cozying up to Democrats Schumer and Pelosi may cause them to look long and hard at any replacement Trump might propose to replace him.

At this time it looks more like a scenario of when, not if, Session either resigns or is fired.  No doubt many will rejoice if he is replaced as Attorney General.  His stances on issues such as civil forfeiture, immigration, and even marijuana use are outdated and dangerous.  But for the President of the United States to treat a sitting Attorney General in such an abusive and humiliating fashion is going to make any qualified candidates think more than twice before considering assuming the job.

For his own dignity, Sessions should tender his resignation immediately.  While he might not go down in the history books as a man with the integrity of his predecessors Attorney General Elliot Richardson or Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus who resigned rather than obey Richard Nixon’s order to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, he may save himself some small footnote in the history books.

But don’t feel too sorry for Jeff Sessions no matter what happens.  He gave up a secure Senate seat to hitch his wagon to the Trump train.  He should have remembered that old saying from down South “When you like down with dogs, expect to get up with fleas.”

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