Jul 26, 2017

Jeff Sessions won't take Trump's hint


Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Attorney General Jeff Sessions doesn't plan to take the hint. President Trump continues hitting him in all body parts — apparently hoping he'll resign, which could pave the way for firing special counsel Bob Mueller.

  • But Sessions allies tell us he won't quit, and will have to be fired: This is his life's work and dream job. (Yesterday, he took on sanctuary cities.)
  • And in Trumptown, you can be down now, but back in favor after you endure a little humiliation. Ask Steve Bannon.
  • Hard to see Sessions coming back from this, though. Trump said yesterday in a Wall Street Journal interview: "I'm very disappointed in Jeff Sessions."

At a Rose Garden press conference yesterday, Trump said: "I am disappointed in the Attorney General. He should not have recused himself [from the Russia probe] almost immediately after he took office. And if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have, quite simply, picked somebody else. So I think that's a bad thing not for the President, but for the presidency. I think it's unfair to the presidency. And that's the way I feel."

Be smart: In this showdown, there's the potential for grave collateral damage to Trump. Many establishment/pragmatic Republicans, including lawmakers and administration officials and aides, "got there" on Trump not because they were wild about the man, but out of respect for the office (and self-interest, of course).

But one Hill alumnus told me that with his torture of Sessions, Trump seems to be demanding personal loyalty: "He's saying, 'I don't want the loyal Republican. I want the loyal Trumpite.'" That could trigger a disconnect that, in yet another echo of Nixon, would undermine the president's Washington support.

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and a supporter of stricter immigration policies like those championed by Sessions: "If an early supporter like this is thrown under the bus, then who is safe? You can imagine what the other Cabinet secretaries are thinking."

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