‘Little Jeff’ Sessions Will Align or Be Sacked by President Trump
Thursday, 2 Key Republican Senators signaled to President Donald Trump that he could replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterm elections in November, a move that would open the way for firing Robert Mueller or constraining his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“The President’s entitled to an Attorney General he has faith in, somebody that’s qualified for the job, and I think there will come a time, sooner rather than later, where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who may be in line to head the Judiciary Committee next year, told reporters Thursday. “Clearly, Attorney General Sessions does not have the confidence of this President.”
Sessions defended his performance in a statement Thursday, saying “While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”
Senator Graham warned against acting against USAG Sessions before the election, calling that possibility “a nonstarter.” That “would create havoc” with Senate efforts to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and with the midterm elections in November, he said.
That represents a significant shift from Senator Graham’s stance a year ago, when he warned Trump publicly that if he fired Sessions “there will be holy Hell to pay.”
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the current Judiciary Chairman, also changed his position Thursday, saying in an interview that he’d be able to make time for hearings for a new Attorney General after saying in the past that the panel was too busy to tackle that explosive possibility.
Senator Graham has provided a sometimes confounding mix of criticism and praise for President Trump, who occasionally invites the Senator to golf at 1 of his resorts. It was not clear why Senator Graham would publicly predict President Trump will take such an action even as the Senator said it should be delayed.
Senator Graham’s comments could be sending a message that Robert Mueller faces a deadline to finish his Russia investigation before November’s election that will determine whether Republicans continue to control the House and Senate.
If President Trump replaces USAG Sessions a new attorney general could take over the investigation and sack Mr. Mueller or cripple his probe.
And President Trump would not need to wait until his new choice for attorney general was confirmed by the Senate, which would be a difficult fight. He could install an interim USAG directly after ousting Jeff Sessions.
“We have somebody who they seem to go after a lot of Republicans,” President Trump said of USAG Sessions in an interview Thursday, he said that Attorney General needs to “control” his department was “a regrettable thing.”
Asked about a possible replacement for Sessions, Grassley took a different position from a year ago, when he warned the White House he didn’t have time to do another confirmation hearing that year.
“I do have time for hearings on nominees that the President might send up here that I didn’t have last year,” Senator Grassley said Thursday.
Senator Grassley said that Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation would take precedence.
Senator Grassley did not comment specifically on the fate of Sessions when asked about Senator Graham’s prediction the president will replace him after the election.
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