This week Donald Trump publicly begged his Attorney General Jeff Sessions to find a way to bail him out of the Trump-Russia criminal scandal. Sessions is utterly powerless in this regard, so this was really Trump begging Sessions’ Republican friends in the Senate to make something happen. Trump got his answer today, and let’s just say that it was the opposite of what he was looking to hear.
Jeff Sessions long ago recused himself from the Trump-Russia probe, in the hope it would be enough to save him from being prosecuted for the felony perjury he committed while under oath during his confirmation hearings. It’s since been widely reported that Donald Trump has wanted to fire Sessions so that he could then also fire Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and elevate someone willing to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Senate Republicans have told Trump that if he ever did fire Sessions, they’d refuse to confirm any replacement he might nominate. It’s never been clear if this was because they truly wanted to keep Robert Mueller in place, or because they were simply trying to protect their friend Sessions. But now that Trump has gone public with his demand that Sessions fire Rosenstein and/or Mueller, the GOP Senate is rebuffing him in more directly and telling fashion.
Here’s the public response from Republican Senator Susan Collins: “Jeff Sessions doesn’t have the authority to fire Mueller.” Orrin Hatch, who has at times seemed more sympathetic to Trump, concurred: “I don’t think Sessions has the authority to do that.” John Cornyn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the Senate, said this: “That’s out of Jeff Sessions’ hands … he really doesn’t have any power to stop the Manafort prosecution. It’s in court, the jury’s been selected and it’s going forward.”
In other words, whatever you think about these Republican Senators and the various ways in which they’ve partnered with Donald Trump to pass corrupt legislation, they’re making it very clear that they have no intention of sticking their necks out to bail Trump out of his criminal scandals. Jeff Sessions is their puppet, and they’re publicly telling Sessions not to help Trump on this. In other words, the GOP Senate is – if perhaps only out of selfish desperation – hanging Trump out to dry.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report