Jeff Sessions, President Trump’s new target

Source:    The Washington Post, article 1     The Washington Post, article 2     The Washington Post, article 3     Chicago Tribune

Like former FBI Director James Comey, President Trump’s dislike and frustration with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is related to the investigation of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election.  It is plain as day, but to add fuel President Trump is throwing in issues about investigating leaks, Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe as distractions to the real intent.  With Mr. Comey, President Trump used personal meetings to convey his message, hoping to intimidate.  However, Mr. Comey knew better and was not intimidated by the oval office.  Instead, Mr. Comey was smart enough to document these meetings with the president when those meetings were unusual and of course smelled rotten.

With Mr. Sessions the president chose a different approach, indirect and from afar, using the news media and his Twitter account to convey his displeasure and apply pressure.  This new approach is still very effective, but it also allows the president a way out, simply by stating he was venting when asked a question concerning Mr. Sessions.  The problem for the president is, like Mr. Comey, Mr. Sessions is a seasoned politician and one who understands the independent nature of the U.S. Attorney General office from The White House and experienced in the political arena.  Nonetheless, President Trump is sending a message of termination or resignation to Mr. Sessions loud and clear.  Thankfully, at the moment, Mr. Sessions is not caving in and seems to be pushing back.  For the president, terminating Mr. Sessions presents a problem, just like with Comey, it would look like the president is trying to quash the Russian investigation for a second time.  That would further tarnish the president’s image and taking a second swing to end the Russian investigation could ignite backlash from congress and the public.  Should Mr. Sessions resign, it would still look suspicious but the president could say he did not fire Mr. Sessions and still send a quite message to the next U.S. Attorney General.

No matter how you look at it, there is an agenda coming out of the oval office.  The president’s effort to influence the Russian investigation is obvious, despite the administration’s bad attempts to hide it.  What this could mean for us is a congress unwilling to reign in an unpredictable and uncooperative president, which could lead to a four-year stalemate in congress.  Progress would grind down to a slow crawl until the next presidential election and politicians from both sides would distance themselves as much as possible leaving government and the country in a state of disarray with marginal functionality.

So, in the coming days and or weeks we will have to see how all this plays out.  My guess, should Mr. Sessions resign he will return to congress where he could become a thorn in the president’s side, making things more complicated for the president.  If not or is terminated, then Mr. Sessions could become a dissenting voice toward the president that would carry considerable influence.  Should either happen, termination or resignation, support for the president will start to wain in all but the harden red states.  As a country, we could see entertaining banter between the president and congress while suffering through an ineffective government punctuated by ranting tweets from the president.  The one thing for sure, I would not want to be in the shoes of the next U.S. Attorney General.

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