Jeff Sessions

Sessions Warned He Would Quit If Rosenstein Fired

Attorney General Jeff Sessions “recently told the White House he might have to leave his job if President Trump fired his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election,” the Washington Post reports.

“Sessions made his position known in a phone call to White House counsel Donald McGahn last weekend, as Trump’s fury at Rosenstein peaked after the deputy attorney general approved the FBI’s raid April 9 on the president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.”

Trump Could Try to Replace Sessions with Giuliani

New York Times: “Some close to the president believe he could try to replace Mr. Sessions with Mr. Giuliani in the coming months, although Mr. Giuliani would face an extremely difficult confirmation hearing in the Senate.”

“When Mr. Giuliani sought the secretary of state job, Trump advisers, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, raised concerns about his business dealings and paid speeches to a shadowy Iranian opposition group that until 2012 was on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.”

Confidants Say Trump Will Soon Fire Sessions, Rosenstein

Wall Street Journal: “Two people who spoke to Mr. Trump during the week said they came away thinking both Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mr. Mueller, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions would soon be gone, potentially sparking a political and constitutional crisis.”

Said one: “It’s a matter of when, not if.”

Trump Still Thinking of Replacing Sessions with Pruitt

“President Trump floated replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Scott Pruitt as recently as this week, even as the scandal-ridden head of the Environmental Protection Agency has faced a growing list of negative headlines,” CNN reports.

Said a source: “He was 100% still trying to protect Pruitt because Pruitt is his fill-in for Sessions.”

McCabe Authorized Criminal Probe of Sessions

Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a “lack of candor,” McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, ABC News reports.

“Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly accused Sessions of misleading them in congressional testimony and called on federal authorities to investigate, but McCabe’s previously-unreported decision to actually put the attorney general in the crosshairs of an FBI probe was an exceptional move.”

Trump-Sessions Relationship at Crossroads

President Trump’s aides “are watching for two key encounters this week to see if Attorney General Jeff Sessions has finally extricated himself from the danger of being fired, in part by ousting the former No. 2 official at the FBI,” Bloomberg reports.

“Trump and Sessions are scheduled to appear together on Monday for an event in New Hampshire on opioid addiction, although they flew there separately and some aides remained worried about how the president will treat Sessions in person. The two will also participate in a roundtable Tuesday at the White House on immigration, providing a fresh glimpse into their tense, and at times tumultuous, relationship.”

Trump May Soon Fire Jeff Sessions

Sources tell Vanity Fair that President Trump has discussed a plan to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“According to two Republicans in regular contact with the White House, there have been talks that Trump could replace Sessions with E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt, who would not be recused from overseeing the Russia probe. Also, because Pruitt is already a Cabinet secretary, he would not have to go through another Senate confirmation hearing.”

Papadopoulos Testified Trump Wanted ‘Back Channel’

A great new book, Russian Roulette, reports that George Papadopoulos spent months “trying to set up a back channel between the campaign and the Kremlin, in part to arrange a Trump-Putin meeting before Election Day,” according to Mother Jones.

“According to a later court filing, Papadopoulos, who in October 2017 pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, aimed to set up an ‘off the record’ meeting between campaign representatives and Putin’s office. Trump has famously denied there was any relationship between his campaign and Moscow. But Russian Roulette reveals that Papadopoulos has told investigators that at a March 31, 2016, meeting Trump held with his foreign policy team, when Papadopoulos informed Trump he had contacts in the United Kingdom who could set up a meeting between Trump and Putin, Trump said this was an ‘interesting’ idea. Trump, according to Papadopoulos’ account, looked at then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a top Trump adviser at the time, as if he expected him to follow up. Afterward, Papadopoulos, working with Russian cutouts, kept pursuing such a meeting.”

How Trump Might Replace Jeff Sessions

Jonathan Chait: “It would presumably be extremely difficult for the president to implant a loyalist into the position. Republicans have only 51 senators. Any two could join with Democrats to block an unacceptable successor, and there are a number of potential Republican senators — John McCain, Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Bob Corker, among others — who would be inclined to do so if Trump nominates the kind of AG he obviously craves.”

“But Trump might be able to fire Sessions and appoint a temporary replacement. The Federal Vacancies Reform Act allows the president to install, for 210 days, any official who has been confirmed by the Senate for any position. One name that has been floated for such a maneuver is Environmental Protection Agency director Scott Pruitt, who might have the requisite combination of personal corruption and ideological fanaticism to carry out Trump’s bidding.”

“An appointment of a Pruitt, or some other Senate-confirmed Trump loyalist, would only last for 210 days. But that might be long enough for a sufficiently craven attorney general to fire independent staff at the Department of Justice and the FBI and quash the Mueller probe.”

Shelby Says He Wouldn’t Be Trump’s ‘Whipping Boy’

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that he would not stick around and be President Trump’s “whipping boy” if he was in the position of his former colleague, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Birmingham News reports.

Said Shelby: “Absolutely not. I wouldn’t stay at all unless the president wanted me to stay… I wouldn’t be anybody’s whipping boy, I wouldn’t be belittled because the president is saying he doesn’t have any confidence in me.”

Sessions Dines with Rosenstein in Show of Solidarity

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had dinner tonight with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Solicitor General Noel Francisco, Axios reports.

“The symbolism was unmistakable: the three top ranking officials in the Justice Department appearing together in a show of solidarity on the same day Trump is publicly and privately raging about Sessions.”

Mueller Investigating Trump’s Efforts to Oust Sessions

Special counsel Robert Mueller “has been investigating a period of time last summer when President Trump seemed determined to drive Attorney General Jeff Sessions from his job,” the Washington Post reports.

“In recent months, Mueller’s team has questioned witnesses in detail about Trump’s private comments and state of mind in late July and early August of last year, around the time he issued a series of tweets belittling his ‘beleaguered’ attorney general… The thrust of the questions was to determine whether the president’s goal was to oust Sessions in order to pick a replacement who would exercise control over the investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump associates during the 2016 election.”

Also interesting: “Behind the scenes, Trump has derisively referred to Sessions as ‘Mr. Magoo,’ a cartoon character who is elderly, myopic and bumbling.”

Sessions Defends Himself from Trump Attacks

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended himself from earlier criticism by President Trump without mentioning him by name, Bloomberg reports.

Said Sessions: “We have initiated the appropriate process that will ensure complaints against this department will be fully and fairly acted upon if necessary. As long as I am the attorney general, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution.”