Donald Trump took yet another public shot yesterday at his own handpicked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, prompting Session to – for the first time – publicly swing back at him. Then came rumblings from certain Republican Senators that they expect Trump to fire Sessions after the midterm elections. This stands in stark contrast to the GOP Senate’s previous widely reported stance that Sessions would be protected from Trump. So what’s really going on here, and what happens if Trump does fire Sessions?
Trump can’t simply fire Sessions and then have everything magically go his way. Even if he were to then fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he would then need to find someone at the Department of Justice willing to fire or neuter Special Counsel Robert Mueller. That would be tricky, because firing Mueller would be felony obstruction of justice, and that person would likely end up in prison after Trump is eventually ousted.
So Trump would have to nominate a brazenly and stupidly corrupt ally for Attorney General, and then count on the Senate to confirm that person. Short of that, Trump would need to find an existing official at the DOJ who wants to go to prison, and promote that person to Acting Attorney General. The latter isn’t realistic, so Trump more or less needs the Senate on his side in order to have any chance of screwing with Mueller. So why are GOP Senators like Lindsey Graham suddenly willing to sell out their old friend Jeff Sessions?
The key part of this is that the GOP talking about letting Trump do it “after the midterms.” It sounds as if Republican Senators are trying to keep Donald Trump placated for now by telling him that he’s welcome to fire Jeff Sessions after November if he pleases. In reality people like Graham know that the GOP is likely to lose the majority in the Senate, meaning that it won’t be their problem. If the Democrats take the Senate, all they have to do is tell Trump they won’t confirm any new AG, and he’ll be back to gaining nothing by firing Sessions. The GOP Senate appears to be counting on Trump’s delusional belief that his party is going to do well in the November elections.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report