Jeff Sessions has resigned as U.S. Attorney General, at the request of Donald Trump, effective November 7, 2018. As head of the Justice Department, Sessions has been seen as an impediment to Trump’s attempts to end the Justice Department’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia. Sessions took continual public criticism from Trump, and many have felt it was just a matter of time before Sessions would be gone – either by firing or by resignation.
Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, told Vox magazine, “This was not unexpected. Sessions tolerated more abuse from Trump than any Cabinet member should have to endure. Yet, he soldiered on out of a sense of duty.”
Trump’s Ongoing Scorn of Sessions
Trump’s ongoing public scorn of Jeff Sessions largely stems from Sessions’ recusing himself from the Trump-Russia investigation, due to his own associations with Moscow. It should be noted that several Former Justice Department officials praised Sessions at the time for doing so.
“I’m confident I made the right decision,” Sessions told Tucker Carlson of Fox News. “The decision is consistent with the rule of law. And an attorney general who doesn’t follow the law is not very effective in leading the Department of Justice.”
Trump, however, has publicly derided Jeff Sessions for his recusal from the probe. Trump has told Fox News. “I put in an attorney general who never took control of the Justice Department. Even my enemies say that ‘Jeff Sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn’t have put him in.’”
Trump told the New York Times, “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.”
Trump’s Attempts to Force Sessions’ Resignation
Following Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Trump-Russia probe, special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to lead the investigation. Mueller’s appointment has led to multiple indictments of Trump cronies, and this has fueled Donald Trump’s ire at Jeff Sessions, too, for not preventing Mueller’s actions.
Trump’s apparent attempts in 2017 via Twitter taunts to force Jeff Sessions to resign are under investigation by Robert Mueller as a possible effort to obstruct the Russia investigation. If these allegations are found to be true, Trump could face criminal charges.
Removal of Barriers to Squelching the Trump-Russia Probe
Jeff Sessions’ resignation removes the barrier to eliminating Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is the only one with the power to fire Robert Mueller. If Rosenstein were removed, Trump could order his replacement to fire Mueller, thus possibly ending the Russia investigation.
Jeff Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump during his run for the presidency. He may also be Donald Trump’s biggest and most consistent promoter of Trump’s agenda. Sessions’ forced resignation makes it apparent that, even greater than a desire for loyalty is Donald Trump’s desire to squelch the Trump-Russia probe.
Trey Gowdy: Sessions was a ‘dead man walking’ for months | Fox News [2018-11-07]
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired | CNN [2018-11-07]