Editorial

Is Sessions being craven or brave?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Many pundits were shocked that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not resign after President Donald Trump accused Sessions of being unfair and expressed regret for appointing Sessions. In an interview with reporters for the New York Times, Trump explained that his anger toward Sessions resulted from Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

A resignation by Sessions could be what Trump was hoping for, part of a strategy to get Robert Mueller fired from his position as Special Counsel investigating Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

There is no other plausible explanation for Trump regarding Session’s recusal to be a problem for Trump.

Under the rules established for special counsel, Trump cannot fire Mueller. The attorney general would have that authority, but Sessions abdicated that authority through his recusal.

That authority was then inherited by Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein is a career Justice Department employee who would likely resign if ordered to fire Mueller. Trump firing either Sessions or Rosenstein would be reminiscent of “The Saturday Night Massacre” when President Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, which led to the resignations of Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus.

By not resigning, Sessions is making it more difficult to get rid of Mueller.