This is happening for one reason: Now that the GOP will have a bigger Senate majority, Trump will actually be able to get a successor confirmed. That’s the only reason Sessions lasted this long:
Mr. Sessions’s departure creates instant uncertainty not only at the Justice Department, but also at special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Mr. Sessions had recused himself from that investigation because of his role in the Trump campaign, but a new attorney general could oversee the probe.
Lawmakers of both parties have warned Mr. Trump against naming a new attorney general to weaken Mr. Mueller, but some Republicans more recently have signaled a willingness to consider replacements.
Any new nominee is certain to be closely scrutinized during the Senate confirmation process over whether the Mueller probe needed to be reined in or shut down entirely. Such a move likely could touch off a political crisis.
Mr. Sessions implemented Mr. Trump’s sweeping law-and-order agenda, but his tenure was dominated by the Mueller probe, which so far has netted the conviction of Trump campaign chairmanPaul Manafort, guilty pleas from other former Trump aides, and the indictment of many Russians, among other cases. A referral from Mr. Mueller also led Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to plead guilty to crimes that included campaign-finance violations during the 2016 campaign.
Trump’s displeasure with Sessions was always about his recusal from the Russia business, and Trump was justified in his disgust, despite the widespread conventional wisdom that Sessions’s recusal was proper and necessary.
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If you’ll recall, Sessions came under fire after being nominated because he had taken meetings with Russian government representatives during the presidential campaign. The suggestion was that this created a conflict of interest for any attempt by the Department of Justice to investigate the Trump campaign for “collusion with Russia,” since Sessions had been an early Trump supporter and thus part of the campaign, even if only in an ad hoc fashion.
But this was always garbage.
Sessions was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during those months, and meeting with representatives of foreign governments was part of his job. The meetings had been completely above-board and proper, and they presented no reason whatsoever for Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
Yet Sessions proved to be quite the creature of the Beltway in this matter. All the usual voices told him he had to recuse, and he quickly caved to the pressure and did so. That left Trump without his own man to oversee every aspect of the investigation, and forced him to deal with Obama holdover Rod Rosenstein, who was – to say the least – difficult to trust.
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In other respects Sessions was a decent attorney general, but Trump’s frustration was understandable on a matter that hung like a cloud over his presidency, yet has consistently been shown to be based on nothing whatsoever. Yet Sessions could only stand by helplessly while it all happened.
Getting a new Trump nominee approved won’t be easy, but given the right choice it should be possible.
Could you keep your job if you told your boss you could only do part of it?
By the way, Sessions’s short-term successor in the Senate, Luther Strange, is already pushing for Sessions to run in 2020 for his old seat against Democrat Doug Jones. Sounds good to us. Sessions was a good senator, and presumably if he returned to the Senate, he could do his entire job.
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