Thursday, July 27, 2017

Would the Senate consider a new AG if Sessions is axed? "AG no way."

You’d think it would take some earth-shaking cataclysmic event to get a group of influential Republican senators to break with a sitting Republican president. You’re right. That event is Donald Trump’s twitter attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The story on the journalistic street is that Sessions, a former Senator, is well-liked by his former colleagues. They are not about to entertain a confirmation of another AG and they think that Sessions made the right call in recusing himself from the Russia investigations. Here is some of the coverage from the NY Times in Allies Warn Trump of Conservative Revolt Unless He Backs Off Sessions.

WASHINGTON — For a week, some of President Trump’s top aides have tried to talk him down from his public campaign against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It was exposing tensions within the administration, stirring consternation with the conservative base and setting off a revolt among Senate Republicans incensed over the treatment of a former colleague.

Among those urging Mr. Trump to spare Mr. Sessions have been Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff; Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist; and Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, according to officials who asked not to be named describing internal deliberations.

For the White House, the attacks on the attorney general have touched off a serious problem on Capitol Hill when it did not need any other headaches. Senate Republicans who almost never link arms in unison against a president from their party formed a cordon around Mr. Sessions, making it clear that they neither concurred with nor would tolerate Mr. Trump’s repeated threats to the attorney general’s tenure. Senate leaders made clear they would block Mr. Trump from replacing Mr. Sessions if he tried to do so during the coming recess.

“I would hope the public discussion of that would end immediately,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, who said he delivered the message directly to the White House. Those sentiments were echoed publicly by at least a dozen Republican senators, including their top two leaders, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and John Cornyn of Texas. Mr. Sessions’s removal, Mr. Cornyn said, would be “incredibly disruptive.”

… Republicans also fear that the firing of an attorney general in the middle of the Russia investigations would send the country into a political and constitutional tailspin, making it extremely difficult to confirm anyone Mr. Trump nominated to replace him. And they argued that Mr. Trump was jeopardizing his own agenda.

“If you look at so much of what the president of the United States wants to accomplish on his agenda, Sessions is critical to that,” Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would consider any replacement, said in a television interview this week. “And Sessions should remain in office.” In a Twitter message on Wednesday night, Mr. Grassley warned that his committee schedule was full with other nominations: “AG no way.”

And almost every Republican who has ventured an opinion also agrees that Mr. Sessions was correct in recusing himself. “I think the attorney general is doing a fine job,” Mr. McConnell, whose wife, Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary, serves in the cabinet with Mr. Sessions, said on Tuesday. “And I think he made the right decision to recuse himself from the Russia matter.”

Assuming that Trump bows to that kind of pressure and backs off of Sessions, then the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller will proceed without a threat of a new AG appointee firing Mueller.

However, and there always is a however with Trump, he does not put aside grudges easily if ever.

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