Donald Trump has been publicly attacking his own handpicked Attorney General Jeff Sessions for nearly as long as they’ve been in office together. Trump never could get past the fact that Sessions decided to protect his own backside by recusing himself in the Trump-Russia investigation, instead of retaining control and trying to protect Trump’s backside. Now suddenly we’re at a place where all the talk is about Trump firing Sessions – but it’s too late to matter. Here’s why.
If you look at the source for all this latest buzz about Donald Trump firing Jeff Sessions, it’s clear that it’s all coming from Trump, which means that he wants it to be the center of discussion. Trump’s new buddy Lindsey Graham can’t stop talking to the media about how Trump should be allowed to fire Sessions after the midterms. In addition, the Washington Post is running an article tonight about how Trump has spent the past month telling aides that he wants to fire Sessions, a story that could only have come from Trump and his own people to begin with.
So it’s clear that Donald Trump wants us focused on whether he’s going to fire Jeff Sessions. That doesn’t tell us a lot about whether he’ll ultimately try to do it. There have been many instances in which Trump openly talked about firing someone and then it never happened. Remember all the times John Kelly was going to be fired? Trump is mostly talk and no action on these things. That said, his rage of late has become so out of control that he’s made highly risky moves just to punish the targets of his rage, such as John Brennan, even when there was nothing for Trump to gain in the process.
The bottom line, however, is that firing Jeff Sessions would not help Donald Trump at this late date. After the midterms, there will be somewhere between 49 and 51 Republican Senators. Trump would need 50 votes, along with Mike Pence’s tiebreaker in his favor, to confirm a new Attorney General. He’s not getting that. There are at least a handful of Republican Senators who are not willing to give Trump an AG who’s willing to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
So if Donald Trump does fire Jeff Sessions, the net result would be no new Attorney General for the rest of Trump’s time in office. Instead, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who has been championing the Trump Russia investigation all along – would rise to the role of Acting Attorney General. That’s the last thing Trump needs. The only question is whether Trump is coherent enough, and sufficiently in control of his worsening petty rage – to realize or care that he would gain literally nothing by firing Sessions. But it’s even worse for Trump than that.
If Donald Trump really does fire Jeff Sessions, it’ll simply result in Sessions cutting a plea deal with Robert Mueller against Trump, if Sessions hasn’t secretly done so already. Sessions has already made clear with his early recusal that he’ll do what it takes to protect himself. Considering that Sessions has had a front row seat to every crime Trump has committed while in office, as well as inside information on the Trump-Russia election scandal, this can only end badly for Trump. Jeff Sessions might lose his job, and he certainly deserves to lose it. But Trump has already lost this battle.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report