The Democrats, despite not having a majority in the House or Senate, have nonetheless managed to hold Donald Trump at bay in a number of key areas. Now, in a move that could be seen as deeply ironic yet necessary, Democrats in the Senate have hatched a plan that would keep former Republican Senator Jeff Sessions in his current role as Attorney General against Trump’s wishes. Well, Trump can still fire Sessions if he wants. But now he can’t replace him.
Trump made the mistake of allowing it to leak that he’s considering firing Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein during the upcoming Senate recess, and then replacing Sessions with a new Attorney General during the recess. This would have allowed the new AG to take office without needing Senate confirmation. But now that the Senate Democrats are aware of Trump’s upcoming plan, they’ve devised a way to stop it – and that plan won’t need the cooperation of any Senate Republicans.
In short, the Democrats will take a series of procedural steps to ensure that the Senate is technically still in session for the entire time it’s emptied out for recess, according to The Hill (link). These steps won’t require majority support, and there doesn’t appear to be anything that Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell can do to circumvent it. In fact, McConnell unwittingly helped make it easier for the Democrats to pull this off when he established legal precedent by keeping the Senate technically in session a few years back to block an appointment by President Obama (source: Reuter). Still, the greater irony is that the Democrats now find themselves fighting on the side of Jeff Sessions in order to stop Trump.
Donald Trump is hoping to fire Sessions and Rosenstein so he can appoint a new Attorney General who will then fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But with the Democrats now taking advantage of Trump’s big mouth and keeping the Senate in session during recess, Trump can’t appoint a new AG without going through full Senate confirmation hearings.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report