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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Trump may fire Sessions or not

President Trump is talking with advisers to discuss the idea of firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he continues to publicly rage against the AG's decision to recuse himself over the Russian meddling of the 2016 presidential campaign. 

It's obvious that Trump is extremely angry at Sessions, referring to him as "beleaguered" in a tweet, but while he frequently talks about making staff changes, he often fails to follow through, or perhaps changes his mind.

Trump tweeted Monday:
"So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys (sic) crimes & Russia relations?"
Department of Justice officials say that Sessions is in "good spirits."

The criticism with which Trump has been discussing Sessions has created speculation that either Trump will fire him or he will resign. 

Someone shouted a question during a White House event asking whether Sessions should step down--Trump ignored the question. Last week, however, Sessions said that he intended to stay on the job.

Should Sessions go, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would be next in line for the position, at least as acting AG. But it was Rosenstein who appointed Mueller and Trump has been sharply critical of him, both in public and private for that move.

Four White House officials leaked on condition of anonymity because they valued their jobs, to discuss private conversations.

If Sessions goes and Rosenstein moves up, Trump might ask him to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the investigation, because of his hiring of all Hillary Clinton supporters to help in the investigation. Trump rightfully believes the deck is stacked against him.

Sessions recused himself from the investigation knowing that it would raise eyebrows after he revealed that he'd met with a top Russian diplomat last year. And while the meeting is perfectly legal and normal, Democrats have attacked everyone in the Trump administration for ridiculous events. They would probably go after POTUS if they caught him using Russian salad dressing.

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and frequent Trump adviser noted that the president wears his feelings on his tweets and said he was probably just venting about Sessions and being "honest with his feelings. But that doesn't mean he's going to do anything."

Gingrich admitted, however, that such statements by the president would have repercussions with staff morale.

"Anybody who is good at team building would suggest to the president that attacking team members of your team rattles the whole team," Gingrich said.

Sessions and Trump were close at one time. Trump even momentarily shared the same ideology as Sessions and it was he who backed Trump's campaign and gave the reality TV star political 'cred'.

After Trump public rebuke of Sessions last week, the AG seemed determined to stay on the job and said of that it "goes beyond anything that I would have ever imagined for myself."

"I'm totally confident that we can continue to run this office in an effective way," Sessions said.

It would be a mistake to fire Sessions, especially over his recusal, which to many people was the proper thing to do. Many in his base might have second thoughts.