Donald J. Trump has just made the case for why U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had no choice but to recuse himself from the investigation into “The Russia Thing.”
Of course, he doesn’t see it that way, because he has no understanding of government ethics or, for that matter, government decency.
Sessions has fired back at another round of criticism from the president. He said, “While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action.” He added in a Fox News interview: “However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.”
Trump went yet another tear against Sessions, criticizing him for his recusal. What is his rationale? Get a load of this, as reported by The Hill: “Even my enemies say that, ‘Jeff Sessions should have told you he was going to recuse himself, and then you wouldn’t have put him in,’” Trump said in an interview that aired Thursday.
Trump also said that he only selected Sessions, previously a senator from Alabama, to be his top law enforcement officer because of his “loyalty” during the campaign.
“He was on the campaign. You know, the only reason I gave him the job was because I felt loyalty,” Trump said. “He was an original supporter.”
Jeff Sessions could not be called upon to lead an investigation into a campaign in which he was an integral part. The Department of Justice has deeply rooted codes of conduct that preclude the AG from leading such a probe. Sessions — a man for whom I have little actual regard, mind you — recognized the blatant conflict of interest and pulled himself out of the investigation into whether there was “collusion” between Russian government agents and the Trump campaign.
For the president, moreover, to continue to malign the integrity of the professional team assembled at DOJ is reprehensible on its face.
The attorney general is right to praise the quality of the men and women who do the grunt work for the Department of Justice. The president is dead wrong to disrespect and disparage them.