Tag Archives: Jeff Sessions

Trump unites Congress, if not the nation

Donald John Trump has promised all along that he would be a unifier, that his election as president would bring the country together “bigly.”

I want to underscore some of the limited success that Trump has achieved in keeping that promise. He has managed to unite members of Congress, who represent 330 million Americans.

They are united against the president’s boorish and bristling behavior. Members of Congress — senators and members of the House of Representatives — have united against the president as he rails against two key public officials: the attorney general and the special counsel assigned the task of examining “the Russia thing.”

It fascinates me greatly that we hear Republicans and Democrats on the same side as Trump chastises AG Jeff Sessions for being “weak” and for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has predicted that “there will be hell to pay” if the president fires Sessions from his job. And, yes, even some Democrats who voted against Sessions’s confirmation are arguing that the AG did the right thing in recusing himself from the Russia probe.

How else have lawmakers locked arms?

They don’t want the president to get rid of special counsel Robert Mueller, a man of impeccable integrity and honesty.

Mueller has assembled a crack team of legal eagles to pursue questions about whether the Trump campaign had an improper relationship with Russian government hackers who meddled in our electoral process. He’s now getting ready to put a grand jury to work to hear evidence about potential collusion and covering up by the president and/or his campaign team.

Trump has called it all a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.” Democrats and Republicans alike on Capitol Hill say Mueller’s mission is neither of those things. They are demanding that Trump stop rattling Mueller’s cage with implied threats of dismissal.

Indeed, the Sessions and Mueller stories are intertwined. If the president were to move Sessions out of his job at Justice, he could find another AG who would replace Mueller.

Were that to happen, I feel safe in predicting that the crap will hit the fan.

Ah yes, such unity is a sight to behold.

POTUS turns AG into sympathetic character

Donald John Trump has done the seemingly impossible: He has managed to turn U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions into a sympathetic character.

The president has launched into another disgraceful Twitter tirade against the AG, chastising him for refusing to prosecute Hillary Rodham Clinton and for recusing himself from “the Russia thing” that hangs like a summer storm cloud over the Trump administration.

Trump continues to bash Sessions, apparently seeking his resignation so he can appoint someone to his bidding, which apparently includes sweeping the Russia probe away and prosecuting the candidate he defeated in the 2016 presidential election.

Sessions couldn’t possibly lead an unbiased investigation into the Russia matter, which involves questions into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian government goons in seeking to meddle in our electoral process. Sessions — Trump’s first declared supporter in the U.S. Senate — was a key player in the president’s campaign and his transition. Moreover, there remain questions about Sessions’s own Russia involvement.

Sessions is — or was — too close to the president.

As for prosecuting Hillary Clinton, the FBI found nothing on which to mount a “credible” prosecution; nor did congressional investigative committees; and nor did the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former campaign chief Paul Manafort on the promise she had dirt on Hillary.

We are left now with the spectacle of the president of the United States shaming his AG and seeking to punish his former political opponent.

Which president has done such a thing? I can think of one: the current occupant of the nation’s highest office … the guy who continues to disgrace that office every single day.

Giuliani is right: AG Sessions made the correct call

Hell must have frozen over … even in this oppressive heat!

How else does one explain that Rudolph Giuliani has spoken words of wisdom about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions?

Giuliani said Sessions made the correct call when he decided to recuse himself from anything to do with the Russia controversy surrounding the Trump administration. I happen to agree that, yes, the AG did the right thing. He is too close to the president and could not possibly be considered an unbiased investigator into this matter of whether the Russians sought to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

It’s entirely possible that Sessions is on his way out. Donald J. Trump might replace him. Giuliani sought to tamp down reports that he would succeed Sessions at Justice by endorsing his decision to recuse himself.

The president has done a masterful job of undercutting his top cop. It’s not that I consider Sessions all that trustworthy. It’s merely that Trump has yet again trampled all over one of his top Cabinet officials. He tweeted over the weekend that the “beleaguered” Sessions should be investigating Hillary Rodham Clinton. Good grief! Sessions is beleaguered because of the president himself! Trump told the New York Times he wouldn’t have selected Sessions if he knew that the AG would recuse himself from “the Russia thing.”

Trump goes after AG

As for the man formerly known as America’s Mayor, Giuliani, he wouldn’t be any better, other than he’s now on record as endorsing Sessions’s decision to bow out of the Russia matter.

And, yes, the chaos continues. Let’s all stay tuned.

Time for you to quit, Mr. Attorney General

If I read Donald Trump’s comments about Attorney General Jeff Sessions correctly, it appears the president is pretty damn angry at the man he picked to lead the Department of Justice.

It also looks as though Trump’s confidence in his AG has vanished, which suggests to me that it’s time for the attorney general to hit the road.

The president has broken sharply with one of his earliest U.S. Senate supporters, saying he never would have picked Sessions if the attorney general would recuse himself from a deepening investigation into Trump’s connections with Russian government officials. Actually, Sessions’s recusal was one of the more noble aspects of his time as AG, given that he couldn’t possibly be trusted to be impartial and unbiased as he was a key player in Trump’s transition team after the 2016 election.

Trump is showing signs of extreme anxiety as the special counsel’s investigation picks up momentum. Indeed, the president also said in an interview with the New York Times that the counsel, Robert Mueller, must stay away from the Trump family financial issues as he pursues the facts behind the so-called “Russia thing.”

As for Sessions, he can’t do his job as the nation’s top legal eagle. The man who appointed now appears to have lost faith in him because he decided to do the right thing by recusing himself. Beyond all of that, his own testimony before Senate committee members has been rife with holes and has produced seemingly more questions than answers about his own role in the Russia matter.

And so … the mystery deepens and the crisis continues.

They’re stepping into the arena

I once wrote a blog post about a bumper sticker I spotted in Amarillo that told of someone being afraid of “the government.”

This individual seemed to imply that his government represents someone other than himself … or herself. That’s not true, of course. Our government belongs to us.

I encouraged this individual to seek public office at the earliest possible moment.

Here’s what I wrote in 2009:

I have seen the ‘enemy …’

I’m happy to report that two friends of mine have done precisely that. I’ve written about one of them already: Greg Sagan is going to run as a Democrat for the 13th Congressional District right here in the Texas Panhandle against Republican incumbent Mac Thornberry.

Today, I want to offer a brief word of praise for another friend. He’s also a Democrat who once taught journalism at West Texas A&M University. He moved about a year ago back to his native Alabama.

Butler Cain is another Democrat who now is going to run for the 5th Congressional District in Alabama, where the incumbent is Republican Mo Brooks, who is rumored to be considering a campaign for the U.S. Senate seat that was vacated when Jeff Sessions became attorney general in the Donald J. Trump administration.

Cain’s rationale for seeking this House seat follows the advice I gave to that unknown bumper sticker owner. He said on social media that he had grown tired of bitching about government, so he has decided to climb into the ring and start tossing — and receiving — those rhetorical haymakers.

He took a job as a journalism department head at the University of North Alabama. I’m not altogether clear what his political campaign will do to his standing at the school. My hope for Cain is that he’ll get to continue influencing young journalists in the making.

We have folks who continually gripe about this and/or that public policy decision. I guess I’m one of them.

Then you have those who decide that the time for bitching about it is over. They decide to make a tangible difference in the political system that angers many millions of us.

I salute them.

Top lawyer ‘lawyers up’; more to come, maybe?

If you’re keeping score, it’s good to know how many of Donald J. Trump’s key administration staffers have hired lawyers to represent them.

You have the president’s son-in-law and senior public policy adviser, Jared Kushner seeking outside counsel; Vice President Mike Pence has hired a lawyer to represent him and might be able to use campaign funds to pay for the counselor’s advice; today we got word that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has joined the lawyering-up club.

And oh yes, the president himself has hired a team of lawyers.

Why all this legal eagle activity? You know the reason, but I’ll mention it anyway. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign worked in cahoots with Russian hackers, who tried to influence the 2016 election outcome.

Of all the people mentioned here, I find Sessions’ decision to be most interesting. He’s the nation’s top lawyer. He runs the Department of Justice. He also has recused himself from anything to do with the Russia investigation.

Throughout all of this Russia investigation, we hear the president toss out terms like “witch hunt” and “fake news.” He doesn’t condemn the notion that Russian government goons might have sought to influence the election.

The special counsel has a lot of information to sift through. The former FBI director, James Comey, told Senate committee members that the president pressured him to back off a probe into the Russia matter. The president launches into those tweet tirades that seem to undermine his own message, not to mention his legal defense against whatever might be tossed at him.

We’re a long way from knowing the truth behind all of this.

The high-priced legal community is riding a serious gravy train, thanks to the concerns being expressed by the president of the United States and some among his senior team members.

Moment of truth approaching? Tapes or no tapes?

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is going to testify behind closed doors in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He might have plenty to tell his former Senate colleagues.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans finally are beginning to turn up the heat on the president of the United States regarding a reckless tweet he posted some time back about the potential existence of White House tape recordings.

Show ’em if you got ’em, Mr. President.

Donald Trump made some snarky reference to tape recordings after he fired FBI Director James Comey. It was that “Russia thing” that produced the dismissal. Comey and Trump reportedly had some conversations about Russia and the FBI”s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian government hackers who sought to influence the 2016 presidential election outcome.

Tapes, Mr. President?

There are so many “Big Questions,” it’s becoming difficult to keep track of them. One of them is this: Did the president record the conversations or is he bluffing about their existence?

Now comes the heat from the president’s side of the partisan divide. Republicans want him to clear the air.

Of course, the president hasn’t shown much proclivity to listen to anyone, let alone act on the torrent of advice he’s getting.

So, I suppose we should expect the mystery to deepen and the chaos to continue.

Yep, the Russians are laughing at us.

Donald J. Trump tweeted the following, apparently early this morning: “Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.”

It’s rare that I agree with the president, but I have to endorse part of the message he fired off today.

They’re laughing at us, Mr. President … just not for the reason you tried to articulate in this nonsensical Twitter message.

The Russians are laughing at the chaos they have created by hacking into our electoral system and by seeking to swing the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.

To be fair, nothing has been proven — yet — about what they might have accomplished. However, every intelligence agency and expert in many countries agree with the premise that the Russians tried to influence the election.

Look at what has happened since Trump took the presidential oath.

The FBI has said it is investigating whether the Trump team colluded with the Russians; the president’s son-in-law has become the subject of another probe; the Justice Department has appointed a special counsel to examine the “Russia thing”; Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from anything to do with Russia; Michael Flynn was fired as national security adviser because he lied about his own Russian contacts.

They also might be chuckling and chortling over the president’s refusal to call the Russians out publicly for what all those intelligence agencies have concluded about their meddlesome ways.

Are the Russians laughing at us? You’re damn right they are!

Hey, didn’t the AG recuse himself from Russia probe?

Al Franken knows a lie when he hears it. He wrote a book about “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.”

The U.S. senator from Minnesota stood on the Senate floor and offered a point-by-point rebuttal of an apparent lie that Donald J. Trump likely told about a recommendation he got to fire FBI Director James Comey.

Then again, perhaps the lie came from the mouth of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced this year he would “recuse” himself from any dealings at any level with the probe into whether Russian government officials sought to influence the 2016 presidential election in the president’s favor.

You see, the president said he got a recommendation to fire Comey from — drum roll! — AG Sessions, the fellow who said he would recuse himself from this matter.

Oh yeah! Then there’s that matter of Comey leading the FBI probe into allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian hackers to sway the election.

Sen. Franken’s statement zeroes in quite cleanly on Sessions’ recusal and he casts doubt (a) on whether the president really got a recommendation from Sessions to fire Comey or (b) on whether Sessions has actually recused himself as he pledged to do.

Man, this Comey firing matter is beginning to get stinkier by the day.

‘Ayatollah of Alabama’ seeks U.S. Senate seat

This ought to be fun to watch, even if it’s occurring way over yonder in Alabama.

The state has a vacant U.S. Senate seat, now that Jeff Sessions is serving as attorney general of the United States. That means the state has to conduct a special election to fill the seat.

A fellow named Roy Moore has just entered the contest.

Moore is the suspended Alabama Supreme Court chief justice who got himself into a jam because he told county clerks in his state that they didn’t have to abide by federal law and approve marriage licenses for gay couples.

Oops. Can’t do that!

Now he wants to run for the Senate. Why does this matter to people outside of Alabama? Well, if this guy is elected it means he’ll take part in making law for the rest of us. That includes those of us in the Texas Panhandle.

Moore is a fiery conservative. He once refused to remove a Ten Commandments tablet from the court grounds in Montgomery, Ala. He disagreed with decisions that the tablet violated the First Amendment rule prohibiting government sanctioning of religion.

“My position has always been God first, family, then country,” the Republican Moore said while announcing his candidacy for the Senate. OK, he’s a man of deep faith. I understand it. I have faith in God, too.

The Southern Poverty Law Center — which routinely battles with the judge over his rulings — calls Moore the “Ayatollah of Alabama.”

However, here’s the kicker: The oath he would take as a senator is a good bit like the one he took as a judge; it commits him to be faithful to the laws of the land, the U.S. Constitution, which — if you’ll pardon the pun — is the Bible of secular documents.

All I can assure anyone, though, is that the special election in Alabama is bound to be a hoot.

We’re about to see how it will affect the rest of the country.