Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns at Trump’s request
9 mins ago
Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned on Wednesday at President Trump’s request, ending the tenure of a loyalist he soured on shortly after Sessions took office in 2017 because the former senator from Alabama had recused himself from oversight of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Despite the tension with the White House, Sessions had described the position of top law enforcement officer as his dream job and he pursued his conservative agenda with gusto. But he also had to live with sometimes humiliating attacks from a president he couldn’t seem to please and the suspicions of career staff members who feared the politicization of a Justice Department that prides itself on its independence.
Department veterans have expressed concerns that Trump’s repeated public attacks on Sessions, the Justice Department and the FBI could cause lasting damage to federal law enforcement.
Sessions, 71, was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump, and in many ways he had been the biggest supporter of the president’s policies on immigration, crime and law enforcement.
But all of those areas of agreement were overshadowed by the Russia investigation — specifically, Sessions’s recusal from the inquiry after it was revealed that he had met more than once with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the 2016 campaign even though he had said during his confirmation hearing that he had not met with any Russians.
Trump has never forgiven Sessions for that decision, which he regarded as an act of disloyalty that denied him the protection he thought he deserved from his attorney general. “I don’t have an attorney general,” he said in September.
Privately, Trump has derided Sessions as “Mr. Magoo,” a cartoon character who is elderly, myopic and bumbling, according to people with whom he has spoken.
Trump also had repeatedly threatened or demanded Sessions’s ouster behind closed doors, only to be convinced by aides that removing him could provoke a political crisis within the Republican Party, where many conservatives stayed loyal to the former senator. In recent months, however, some of those allies had signaled a willingness to tolerate Sessions’s removal after the midterm election.
Democrats have moved gingerly around Sessions — fearful that if he were driven from office, his replacement could curtail the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
A person close to Sessions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank, said the attorney general shared the president’s frustration with the pace of the Russia inquiry, and wished that it had been completed. But Sessions also thought that by staying in the job, he had protected the integrity of the investigation, the person said. In the long run, Sessions is convinced that the country will be better served by the investigation proceeding naturally, as the findings will be more credible to the American public, the person said.
Mueller is looking into Trump’s statements seeking to fire Sessions or force his resignation n an effort to determine whether those acts are part of a pattern of attempted obstruction of justice, according to people close to the investigation.
Earlier this year, Mueller’s team questioned witnessesabout Trump’s private comments and state of mind in late July and early August of last year, around the time he belittled his “beleaguered” attorney general on Twitter, these people said. The questions sought to determine whether the president’s goal was to oust Sessions so he could replace him with someone who would take control of the investigation, these people said.
The Mueller inquiry is overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who also has had strained relations with Trump, but is considered safe in his position for the moment.
Sessions usually does not respond to the president’s criticism, but he has at times pushed back.
After one particularly blistering tweet in February, in which the president said Sessions’s actions were “DISGRACEFUL!” he issued a statement: “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.’’
Wouldn't that be somethin' huh? I'd have to eat a lot of crow it that were 'the plan'. I mostly thought Sessions was a big mistake (and still do). Not much choice bit to wait and see since I have nothing better to do :)
New acting attorney general wanted limits on Mueller’s Trump probe
34 mins ago
The new acting attorney general doesn’t think much of Robert Mueller’s alleged look into President Trump’s finances.
Matthew Whitaker, who on Wednesday was named by Trump as acting attorney general after the resignation of Jeff Sessions, spelled out his views in a CNN opinion piece authored just a month before he joined the Justice Department as Session’s chief of staff.
“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 of 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.” — Matthew Whitaker
Not limited the probe, Whitaker argued, would lead to a fishing expedition.
Whitaker now will oversee the Mueller investigation, according to published reports, taking over from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Rosenstein oversaw the Mueller investigation because Sessions, to Trump’s oft-expressed dismay, recused himself because he was a member of the president’s campaign.
It should be noted that the order authorizing Mueller’s appointment says that the investigation should not just look at any links or coordination between the Russian government and the Trump presidential campaign, but any matters that arise from the investigation.
Schumer Warns of Constitutional Crisis After AG Exit
35 mins ago
Upon learning the bombshell news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was out on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer quickly warned of a constitutional crisis.
A new attorney general must not interfere with the investigation from special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, the New York Democrat warned. Schumer was handed a paper informing him of the Sessions news during a press conference and he told reporters that any tampering the Mueller probe would amount to a "constitutional crisis."
"Protecting Mueller and his investigation is paramount," he said it would create a constitutional crisis if this were a prelude on ending the Mueller probe.”
Matthew Whitaker, Sessions's chief of staff, was set to take over as the acting attorney general.
Few Cabinet members have had as contentious a relationship with the presidents they serve as did Jeff Sessions, attorney general until approximately 13 hours after the last polls closed in the 2018 midterm elections. Sessions endured President Trump’s frequent critiques on Twitter and was the target of Trump’s frustration both in interviews and in West Wing conversations that were later reported by the media.
The primary reason for Trump’s irritation was Sessions’s decision in March of last year to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. That recusal stemmed from a recommendation by Justice Department attorneys, who noted Sessions’s involvement in Trump’s 2016 campaign posed a potential conflict with an investigation into that campaign. For Trump, though, the recusal was a betrayal that left him exposed. Trump apparently hoped for an attorney general as loyal to his personal interests as Robert Kennedy was (per Trump’s assessment) when he served in his brother’s administration. Sessions should have told him he planned to recuse, Trump said on more than one occasion, and then Trump would not have picked him in the first place.
Sessions’s departure changes that calculus dramatically.
It is unclear how close the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is to being completed, much less the arm of that probe run by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III which is looking at any overlap with Trump’s campaign. There are signs it is nearing completion -- but that could mean we are on the brink of substantial revelations or indictments. For example, in recent weeks, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. has reportedly told friends he expects to face an indictment. (Experts who spoke with The Washington Post speculated this would explain why Mueller has not yet interviewed Trump Jr.)
In other words, there may still be good reason for Trump to want to curtail Mueller’s work. With Sessions gone, that became much easier in two ways.
The first is installing a new attorney general would mean that control of the Mueller probe shifts away from Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller under the authority of leading the probe following Sessions’s recusal. Appointing a new attorney general is not trivial, since that person would need Senate confirmation to start work. Except that, under the terms of the Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, Trump does not need to have a new attorney general go through that process. Because Sessions technically resigned (at Trump’s request), there is no question Trump could use the Act to simply move any other administration official who’s already been confirmed by the Senate into Sessions’s former position. In other words, Trump could in short order name Energy Secretary Rick Perry as attorney general if he wanted to. There are nearly 400 people who have been Senate confirmed, any of whom could presumably be moved over.
He may not need to do that. Trump tweeted news about Sessions’s departure, mentioning the acting attorney general would be Matt Whitaker, previously Sessions’s chief of staff. As our Aaron Blake noted, Whitaker offered his opinion about the Mueller probe shortly before being hired by Sessions: Broadly echoing Trump’s rhetoric about the need to wind down the probe and, perhaps more importantly, defending Trump Jr.'s involvement in a meeting with a Kremlin-linked attorney at Trump Tower in June 2016.
So what could a new Justice Department head hostile to the investigation do? A lot. Earlier this year, we spoke with Louis Seidman, Carmack Waterhouse professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University, who outlined the ways in which Mueller’s wings could be clipped.
The main leverage that person gains:
First and foremost, whoever is the Department of Justice staffer overseeing the probe is granted the power to “request that the Special Counsel provide an explanation for any investigative or prosecutorial step, and may after review conclude that the action is so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.” In other words, if Mueller wants to bring forward a new indictment, the person in charge at DOJ could nix it.
They could also go further.
“Depending on how aggressive this person wanted to be, they could dismiss the criminal cases, they could get rid of the grand jury,” Seidman said at the time. “In the end, if Trump is determined, the people he appoints could shut [the probe] down.”
If Mueller wants to indict Trump Jr., he has to ask the Justice Department official overseeing the probe. NBC reports Rosenstein has already agreed to transfer his oversight to Whitaker, meaning Whitaker is now the one who would answer Mueller’s question.
If Whitaker is true to what he wrote before joining the government, he will simply say “no" -- and such an indictment would come to a halt.
America is at a critical crossroads that MUST be navigated one way or another.
Since this is now absolute historical fact as having been actually already done by the Deep State cabal, to wit: "...turning the DoJ [and FBI and CIA and IRS] into a tool to punish political opponents..." <<== Add: "and cheat the voting/election system"
...but the above has NOT been done by Trump or the Republicans, I hope that the way we go is to:
open the indictments,
have fair and just trials,
and deliver justice
to the American public with significant and proper punishments for those who murdered, those who perjured, those who grafted, etc.
**IF** this is blocked by the Deep State, then Libertaurum, the genie will come out of the bottle. A past president may be incarcerated for life. Senators, Congressmen, Judges, MSM twats... may get jail, execution.
By Tribunal at Gitmo.
And the removal of the Deep State cancer may well leave a patient that will never get back to the health it used to have.
But be sure, Libertaurum, that you understand it is the Deep State that has murdered and plundered and betrayed America. If we lose our innocence by removing this liberal cancer, it is because it is our last chance before America is no more.
Your tic-tac-toe game was set up, started, and played by the liberals. nem. con.