Sam Jayne / Axios

President Trump blasted his Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the NYT yesterday. Republicans are speculating about whether Trump is laying the ground to get rid of him, or prodding him to resign, but the reality is Trump has almost zero leverage over Sessions. Trump's aides will surely help the President understand what would come next after such a decision, and it's not pretty.

A longtime Republican operative plays out the tape for us:

  • If Sessions resigns, Rod Rosenstein is acting AG. Does Trump want him to resign too? Then it would be Rachel Brand. She's no puppet, either.
  • And good luck, Mr. President, in getting your new AG nominee through the Senate. Moderate Republicans would feel a lot more pressure this time around. Remember who introduced Sessions at his confirmation hearing? Susan Collins. 1 out of 3 senators who could easily vote against confirming a new AG.
  • Lastly, what would all the other AG nominees do? And US attorney nominees? It would be a political disaster.

Go deeper

SurveyMonkey poll: Trump improves, but not enough

Trump and Biden during the final debate. Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."

Hunter Biden saga dominates online debate

Data: NewsWhip; Table: Axios Visuals

The mainstream media turned away. But online, President Trump's charges about Hunter Biden were by far the dominant storyline about the final presidential debate, according to exclusive NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

  • Coverage of business dealings by Joe Biden's son — and pre-debate allegations by one of his former business associates, Tony Bobulinski — garnered more than twice as much online activity (likes, comments, shares) as the runner-up.