President Donald Trump’s attacks on his Attorney General Jeff Sessions are alarming and appalling to seasoned Washington insiders who have seen presidents come and go.
A former member of Pres. George W. Bush’s administration told the Washington Post, “We’ve never seen anything that’s reached this level of contempt — this twisting in the wind, the knife going in and out, in and out, over and over again.”
“(I)t’s very rare for a president to lash out at a Cabinet member like Trump has been doing,” explained Bush adviser Peter Wehner.
Trump has called Sessions “beleaguered” and “weak” on Twitter in recent weeks, a consequence of the president’s displeasure with Sessions’ lawful decision to recuse himself from matters pertaining to the Russia investigation after Sessions was caught lying about his clandestine meetings with Russian officials.
Trump has whined and complained that it’s “very unfair” that he hired someone to protect him from outside investigations only to have that person announce that he will not be involved with anything pertaining to Russia or the 2016 campaign.
Trump is reportedly complaining to colleagues that things wouldn’t be this way if former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) was Attorney General instead of Sessions, but Congress has made it clear it has no intention of confirming anyone in Sessions’ place if the president fires him.
“The problem for Trump is: Who would be attorney general, if not Sessions?” said Mark Krikorian of right-wing nativist group the Center for Immigration Studies. “Judge Jeanine?”
Sessions for his part is continuing to show up for work and exhaustively attempting to overhaul Obama-era reforms in the U.S. justice system, to pursue his anti-immigrant agenda and pour money into the militarization of local and state police.
“I serve at the pleasure of the president,” Sessions said. “If he wants to make a change, he can certainly do so, and I would be glad to yield in that circumstance, no doubt about it.”
Meanwhile, Sessions is preparing to roll out one of the president’s fondest wishes, criminal prosecutions for individuals accused of leaking government information to the media. Rights advocates call the move a deliberate chilling of free speech and an authoritarian attempt to clamp down on the free flow of information.