Two days after Donald Trump tried and failed to convince Attorney General Sessions to resign by publicly attacking him, a new piece of dirt on Sessions has conveniently leaked to the media. The leak has obviously been strategically timed to hit Sessions while he’s down. It may be that Trump himself leaked this dirt to try to force Sessions out of office. But if so, it’s likely to backfire on Trump in devastating fashion.
This new leak to the Washington Post (link) is clearly based on old information that someone has been sitting on. The source is an intel community wiretap on Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s phone. But that wiretap was burned back when someone leaked that Kislyak had been caught discussing his meeting with Jared Kushner. After that, Kislyak would have changed his phone to ditch the wiretap. So this new revelation about Sessions has been in possession of the U.S. intel community for at least a few months. The question is why it’s being leaked now.
If Donald Trump was indeed trying to prompt Jeff Sessions to resign by attacking him in the New York Times interview, it didn’t work. Sessions says he’s staying. So someone on Trump’s side may have leaked this damaging Russia dirt on Sessions in order to finish the job. With Sessions out of the way, Trump can try to appoint a new Attorney General who wouldn’t have to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, meaning that the new Attorney General could theoretically fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But this isn’t going to play out like Trump might hope.
Jeff Sessions hasn’t survived as a corrupt politician all these years by being a dummy; he only pretends to be dumb. If Trump leaked this to force Sessions to resign, Sessions will promptly figure that out. He’ll know that Trump has sold him out entirely. And it’ll motivate Sessions to flip on Trump and take him down. Moreover, at this point it’s unlikely that Trump could get the Senate to confirm any new Attorney General he might nominate. So if this is a plot to get rid of Mueller, it’ll fail. Once again, Trump has overplayed his hand out of spite. If you find Palmer Report valuable, make a donation.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report