Jeff Sessions Resigns as US Attorney General

Jeff Sessions Resigns as US Attorney General

On a news day that was already anything but slow, the White House announced that Jeff Sessions has resigned from his position as attorney general, at the request of President Trump.

From CNN:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, effectively firing him.

Sessions’ resignation letter has been delivered to White House chief of staff John Kelly.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to remain in charge of the Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump did not answer a direct question about Sessions during his news conference Wednesday, saying that on the whole he is “extremely” satisfied with his Cabinet.

No word yet on who may replace Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, but his Chief of Staff, Matthew Whitaker, will take over as Acting Attorney General in the interim, per Fox News.

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58 thoughts on “Jeff Sessions Resigns as US Attorney General

  1. We all knew this was coming. And the timing is unsurprising – Trump now has a solid majority in the Senate who he believes will fend off impeachment. Equally Importantly he hates not being the center of news attention, and this morning he wasn’t – what with Democrats flipping the House and all.

    So what now? I see no way that – even if Rosenstein stays on – that Robert Mueller is allowed to finish his investigation. Even absent the impeachment threat Trump’s ego won’t let him consider a world where a Justice Department investigation concludes he won because anyone (much less Russia) helped him.Plus many members if his actual family stand likely to be indicted by Mueller or the DoJ on Mueller’s behalf at some point.

    Which means the “Mr. Trump shouldn’t fire Mueller and if he does there will be Hell to pay” Republicans are about to get a very public comeuppance. Sen. Lindsey Graham in particular will now have to fish or cut bait, though its not clear to me if his alignment with Trump over Kavanaugh gives him breathing room on this issue or not.

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    • I don’t he will go after Mueller, at least not directly. Now that D’s have the House they can investigate him so if he gets rid of Mueller that doesn’t stop investigations. I’ll throw out a guess that they just try to speed up Mueller and be difficult in petty ways. Schiff could get all the info Mueller has so it’s not like they can hide what has been discovered.

      I’ll also assume i havenn’t been proven wrong in the time it’s taken me to type this.

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      • I guess it depends on whether this is an issue where we take Trump seriously but not literally or literally but not seriously. He fired James Comey over the Russia investigation, and then forgot to keep up the lie it was about something else. And while both Mr. Schiff and Mr. Mueller have referral powers to prosecutors, if the CoS at Justice is a Trump loyalist, he may well be induced to fire Rosenstein and or Mueller while the Congress is in Lame Duck and before Schiff can take over the Committee. Plus, as we saw with Kavanaugh, McConnell can dummy up partisan confirmations hearings really quickly so that if Trump wants to clean house he can have a new permanent someone named this week and confirmed before Christmas.

        I”d be more then happy to be wrong, but this train is already halfway wrecked.

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    • If the election shows anything, it is that there are no such animals as non-Trumpian Republicans, as any level of government.

      Someone upthread mentioned a “heighten the contradictions” election which I think is about right.

      So as much as liberals won last night, we have to come to terms with the reality that anywhere from a quarter to around 40% of our fellow citizens have taken a long hard look at Donald Trump and his signature issue of racial animosity, and said “Yep, that’s me!”

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      • So as much as liberals won last night, we have to come to terms with the reality that anywhere from a quarter to around 40% of our fellow citizens have taken a long hard look at Donald Trump and his signature issue of racial animosity, and said “Yep, that’s me!”

        You can’t come to terms with reality if you’re detached from it.

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      • 40% of our fellow citizens have taken a long hard look at Donald Trump and his signature issue of racial animosity, and said “Yep, that’s me!”

        More like, ‘not my top priority‘ or even ‘not my problem‘ or even ‘he is funny‘.

        Sort of like how you’re not buying into every aspect of every Dem’s platform.

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              • Since when is justice a special concern, some niche issue that should be bartered away to capture the ring of power?

                Since different people have different ideas of the definition of “justice” (i.e. since before the human race).

                For example, in the name of your “justice” we’re taking Harvard admission spots away from poor hard working Asians because of the color of their skin. So would it be a good thing or a bad thing if Trump’s people put a stop to it?

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              • You see nothing morally objectionable in people saying “Well, sure, that guy’s a Nazi, but it doesn’t affect *me* so why should I care?”

                Nazihood means “not a Democrat” in this context. It’s an accusation used against any politicians/policies the Dems don’t like. So you’re a Nazi (or a “good german”) if you don’t support discriminating against Asians based on the color of their skin.

                The accusation is virtue signalling and lets the accuser avoid engaging in the actual arguments being made… often imho because they can’t. The whole “we need to discriminate against Asians to fight racism” is a good example.

                I see nothing wrong in treating these sorts of claims as spurious because they are spurious.

                You need to address other people’s concerns without trying to invoke Nazis (based on zero corpses); To non-believers it makes you sound like you don’t have an argument.

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                • Dark Matter: Nazihood means “not a Democrat” in this context.

                  No, it doesn’t. I was talking about people voting for Steve King, so in this context, Nazi means Nazi.

                  Oh, and on the discrimination against Asians, you are the one making a big and false assumption. The ways Asians are denied places in top universities is very much parallel to how my father-in-law was kept out of the college of his choice because they had a reverse quota on Jews. He had top grades and scores, but they had hit their maximum on admitting Jews, so Johnny Whitebread Jr, legacy WASP, could get in, but he couldn’t.

                  It was wrong when it was done to limit what was perceived as an ‘over achieving model minority’ then and it’s wrong now.

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            • “Man I think I’ll support racism because it addresses my (totally non-racist) concerns better than non-racism,” is, you know, something pretty much every racist ever has said.

              Like, in the extreme case, multiple slaveholders said, “I know slavery is bad but I can’t afford, financially, to free my slaves.”

              That’s still racist.

              And less extreme cases are still blatantly racist. “Oh, I have nothing against people of other races, but if they move in next door, my property values will go down!”

              Racist.

              “Well, I don’t have anything again black people, but if I don’t loudly espouse segregation, I’ll lose the election!”

              Racist.

              And really, not that different at all from, “I have nothing against Hispanic people and Muslims, but if I don’t support Trump I won’t get my tax cuts and wing nut federal court appointees.”

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                • That was one mass shooting ago, so of course people seem to be forgetting it already, but it’s amazing how the Right simultaneously dropped the caravan conspiricizing not after it motivated a Nazi to murder a bunch of Jews, but after the mid-term elections a couple weeks later.

                  But of course cynically exploiting and stoking racism and anti-semitism is not racist or anti-semitic as long as you’re only doing it to keep your taxes low.

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                  • So the Jews are stoking anti-Semitism now? Trump’s daughter, by the way, is Jewish. Netanyahu says that Israel’s relations with s US administration are closer than they have ever been in all of history. If you want to find an anti-Semitic president, look at Obama, who hung around with Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, and Louis Farrakhan, and whose State Department was about as pro-Israel as Iran is.

                    And the shooter despised Trump.

                    But what if Trump had supported the migrant caravan and open immigration from unstable countries? Well then the shooter would have thought we were being invaded by foreigners, and would have shot up a synagogue – anyway.

                    So if Trump took the positions he holds, you’d blame him for the synagogue shooting, and if he took the opposite of the positions he holds you’d still blame him for the synagogue shootings. That’s a sign that the outrage has nothing to do with the synagogue shootings.

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                    • “Trump was only cynically stoking conspiratorial fears of an imaginary crisis, and someone took him and his media cronies seriously enough to murder a bunch of Jews,” isn’t a defense.

                      Neither is, “But some of his best friends are Jewish.”

                      And it’s not like Bibi et al. won’t kiss a ton of Nazi ass if they think the Nazi is “pro-Israel” enough, which they often do because anti-semitic white nationalists find the idea of sending all the Jews to the Levant to kill Muslims awfully appealing.

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              • So how about preventing Asians from going to college because they’re too successful? Still Racist? This is the biggest gov backed openly racist program we’ve currently got. In terms of negative effect I’d say the war on drugs beats it, but in theory that’s race neutral.

                And really, not that different at all from, “I have nothing against Hispanic people and Muslims…

                …who are here legally. And there is no “but” after that statement.

                Given that we’ve seen this same “anti-immigrant” card played against every wave of immigrants who has ever come here, white/black/yellow, I’m not sure “racist” is the right word. The current wave isn’t white so it fits the narrative you want, and there’s overlap between the racists and the anti-immigrants, but the anti-immigrants don’t view themselves as racist. Similarly the anti-free-traders don’t view themselves as racist.

                IMHO it’s not very useful to tell people (who might be very non-racist in other contexts) that opposing immigration is racist (or nazist). It sounds like a way to ignore their economic/security concerns and get ignored yourself.

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                • There is a “but” after that statement. We know this because the anti-immigration movement kept Trump on as their anointed champion his repeated bigoted attacks on Muslims and Hispanics who were here legally and had even, for that matter, been born here (as was the case with Judge Curiel).

                  And they’ve not once even remotely tried to distinguish between Muslims who are here legally and ones who aren’t. I’m old enough to remember when the pre-midterm xenophobic Republican panic was about Muslims exercising their First Amendment rights by building a mosque.

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                  • Odd. I didn’t get this message sent to my email account but I’ve gotten most others.

                    …his repeated bigoted attacks on Muslims and Hispanics who were here legally and had even, for that matter, been born here (as was the case with Judge Curiel).

                    Yes, when Trump was in a crowded GOP field gunning for the nomination he said anything inflammatory to keep the free media attention going. It’s what he does.

                    ….the anti-immigration movement kept Trump on as their anointed champion…

                    Yes, fighting racism is NOT the top priority of everyone in the country and not an automatic disqualification. With Trump, the anti-immigration movement finally found a champion; Making sure he was acceptable to the Dems and had never engaged in *ism wasn’t a priority.

                    We’re dealing with xenophobia, that overlaps with racism but probably should be considered a different animal.

                    And they’ve not once even remotely tried to distinguish between Muslims who are here legally and ones who aren’t.

                    I think they’re more concerned with separating the ones we’re bombing because they’re terrorists from the ones we’re not. The media is constantly misrepresenting Trump’s anti-immigration efforts as “7 mostly muslim majority countries” but ignoring that there are 50 muslim majority countries and he’s focused on the ones we’re bombing (or would like to bomb).

                    Note this is an example of “accusations of racism” being used to try to shut down a conversation because talking about terrorism and links to Islamic radicals isn’t the conversation the Left wants to have… even though imho they could address legit concerns here and win that conversation.

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                    • Ah, so Trump isn’t racist, he is just a rage-filled demagogue who says anything inflammatory to fuel his own rise to power regardless of the consequences.

                      And his supporters aren’t racists either, they are just terrified sheeple who love an authoritarian bully who will inflict pain and suffering on their hated outclass.

                      I may need to apologize to actual racists for the comparison.

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                    • Yes, when Trump was in a crowded GOP field gunning for the nomination he said anything inflammatory to keep the free media attention going. It’s what he does.

                      Yeah, and but the fact it worked to increase his standing within the party and the competition is pretty damning.

                      Yes, fighting racism is NOT the top priority of everyone in the country and not an automatic disqualification.

                      There’s substantial space between not fighting racism and not making it the top priority, and actively engaging in racism to advance your policy goals. Both Trump and prominent anti-immigration activists have done a ton of the latter.

                      I think they’re more concerned with separating the ones we’re bombing because they’re terrorists from the ones we’re not.

                      The Ground Zero mosque panic strongly argues otherwise. As does the fact that Trump actually campaigned on a Muslim immigration ban, not a ban on immigration from countries we’re currently banning. It’s pretty weird to say it’s accusations of racism that are shutting down a conversation that Trump started and the GOP embraced.

                      And even selling defensible policies using racist appeals and rhetoric is bad and racist IMO. The means are foul even when the ends are not.

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                      • Yeah, and but the fact it worked to increase his standing within the party and the competition is pretty damning.

                        Is it? He’s in a 15 way race and he used his mouth to get a Billion dollars worth of free publicity and supplied a low class show. That divided the GOP into “Trump” and “not Trump” with a dozen other people splitting everyone else.

                        The media created Trump just like they create school shooters.

                        There’s substantial space between not fighting racism and not making it the top priority, and actively engaging in racism to advance your policy goals. Both Trump and prominent anti-immigration activists have done a ton of the latter.

                        Agreed.

                        Imho Trump views it as a tool. He picks it up when it’s useful (i.e. furthers his greed or narcissism) and doesn’t when it’s not. So he’s cool with his daughter becoming Jewish because he simply doesn’t care (and her future husband was rich). He’s fine with using the pardon power of the President to ride to the rescue and save some innocent black woman unjustly crunched in the drug war (good PR for him).

                        He’s also cool with inflaming emotions (including racial hate) if it keeps him in the news (all PR is good), earns him money, or advances his ideals. We’re fortunate he can’t make money by setting up death camps (bad for business). We’re also fortunate POTUS has so many checks and balances or his political foes would be arrested and shot.

                        It’s pretty weird to say it’s accusations of racism that are shutting down a conversation that Trump started and the GOP embraced.

                        You think Trump wants a serious adult conversation? This is his method of shutting that sort of thing down.

                        Every time the media over reacted during the campaign it just fueled him, similar mechanics are in play now. Trump doesn’t win by bringing himself up, he wins by dragging other people down.

                        To everyone who isn’t engaged in “racism virtue signaling”, all this over reaction looks insane. Trump draws accusations of being Hitler and all of his followers being Nazis and he magically looks like the reasonable guy in the room.

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  2. People on the Twitters mostly seem to be assuming that Trump fired Sessions because Trump is guilty, and, well, it’s pretty likely that Trump is guilty…

    …but even so, I think we shouldn’t rule out the possibility that this is another thing Trump did because he’s an erratic nitwit with a pathetic need to be the center of attention at all times.

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  3. The Hill reporting what should be entirely obvious but still newsworthy:

    JUST IN: Trump acting AG pick replaces Rosenstein in overseeing Mueller probe

    And so it begins…

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  4. We don’t know if Mueller’s going to get fired. We do know that his investigation hasn’t announced any high-level evidence or issued any high-level indictments related to Russian meddling, and it’s been two years. Does anyone think they’re sitting on something? I can’t believe it. If there is something, and it comes out, fine. Let justice be done. But this is sounding like Vince Foster talk from the left. Trump fires everyone. Trump firing Sessions isn’t proof of any criminal activity.

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    • Let’s see – Trump fired Comey over the Russian investigation. Trump has repeatedly said Sessions is weak because he (rightly) recused himself from running the Russia investigation because Sessions was one of the Trump campaign’s go-betweens to Russia during the campaign. So yes, there is a small outside chance that Trump is just firing Sessions to fire Sessions and get back into the news cycle. But I rate it as less probable then getting kidnapped by aliens.

      As to the Russia probe – given the number of indictments, guilty pleas and convictions I don’t think the timeline is all that far off. Mueller has gone back to his prosecutorial roots – organized crime – for the tool kit to run this. He’s getting the small and medium fish to flip on the big fish. And there’s reporting that at least Don Jr. expects to be indicted soon.

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      • Mike Schilling said “Trump thinks the AG’s job is to be his personal lawyer. Sessions wouldn’t go along with that.” You seemed to agree.

        Here’s my problem. Trump would be acting the way he is if he were guilty. But he’d be acting the way he is if he were innocent. He’d complain about people, fire people, and take every disagreement as a sign of disloyalty. If evidence comes out that he did something wrong, either in action or in a cover-up of someone else’s action, then I can accept that. I don’t get the feeling that the left is capable of accepting it if nothing comes of this investigation.

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        • Because something has already come of the investigation.

          Its a fact that Trump’s campaign eagerly met with the Russians when they were promised stolen emails; That Trump’s inner circle have already been convicted or plead guilty to crimes; That he has a long and tangled history of indebtedness to the Russian mob/ government.

          I mean, really, all we are doing now is filling in the details of how corrupt and in what capacity.

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          • I mean, really, all we are doing now is filling in the details of how corrupt and in what capacity.

            That hits the radar as a problem because we’re supposed to be investigating Russia and the Election.

            The moment his entire life is in play for the purpose of finding a reason, any reason, that the Dems can indite him then we’re misusing the system for political ends… and bringing in porn stars sure makes it seem like that’s where we’ve gone.

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  5. Elizabeth Warren offers up another gift (img)

    Elizabeth Warren: As our top law enforcement officer, the AG must be truthful and uphold the law. Sessions cannot continue to serve. He should resign.

    Elizabeth Warren: @realDonaldTrump’s firing of Jeff Sessions brings us one step closer to a Constitutional crisis. Congress must act to ensure that Special Counsel Mueller can do his job without interference.

    In any event, can someone post a list of Jeff Sessions notable accomplishments as AG?

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    • Warren’s original quote came because there is credible evidence that Gen. Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearings. She is also right that firing him is bringing us one step closer to a constitutional crisis in that Mr. Trump is now free to sack Mr. Mueller. Those views are not incompatible.

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      • Sessions didn’t lie during his confirmation hearings, Democrats were mistaken on the law and it took a while for reporters to figure that out. Casual contacts during the course of normal duties, such as attending a diplomatic function where foreign officials will be present, are not reported as “contacts”.

        And Trump has always been free to change the special counsel regulations and sack Mueller, who is working for the executive branch. That’s why there’s been two years of breathless speculation that Trump is going to fire Mueller, and why a host of Republicans have cautioned him against it. However, it would end the most idiotic witch-hunt since Salem, as Mueller hasn’t found a trace of Russian collusion after years of investigation. At this point in the Watergate Investigation (It’s been about 843 days since Comey started the Russian collusion investigation in July of 2016), President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Nixon.

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  6. It’s the same thing Democrats did with Comey. During the campaign they all called for him to be fired. Eventually Trump fired him, and then Democrats screamed that it was the end of the world.

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    • I’m guessing you and caffeine haven’t spoken yet this morning because you seem to have lept out the window labeled “Ignore nuance.” A few Democrats called for Comey to be fired during the campaign because the timing of his releases regarding reopening the Hillary Clinton email investigation APPEARED to be politically motivated. And in one respect it was – Comey has said he feared retribution on the Hill IF he didn’t tell the world what he was doing.

      The descriptions of angst at his ultimate firing were not in opposition to his actions regarding Sec. Clinton – most Democrats viewed his firing as Trump’s first attempt to derail the Mueller Russia investigation – which Trump has said repeatedly was his motivation.

      Two different conclusions arrived at on two different occasions from two different sets of facts regarding two separate issues. Seems like good applications of critical thinking not some dastardly doublesidedness.

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  7. Trump thinks the AG’s job is to be his personal lawyer. Sessions wouldn’t go along with that. Will Whitaker, or the new AG if that’s someone different? Time will tell.

    If an AG fires Mueller or shuts down the Russia investigation, what will Republicans in Congress do? Nothing. What will the never-Trumpers do? Nothing.

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    • That is exactly the scenario I believe we are headed for. The House can’t save this because while they could investigate and make a whole bunch of noise after 20 January – and even issue articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice, they can’t get indictments once the AG job flips. and with a 5-4 majority on the SCOTUS, even if indictments are dropped soon they may mean nothing.

      I suspect Rosenstein will soon be gone too . . .

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      • they can’t get indictments once the AG job flips. and with a 5-4 majority on the SCOTUS, even if indictments are dropped soon they may mean nothing.

        Question for lawyers

        Can the House refer their investigations to, let’s say, the NY State AG if they uncover evidence of a state law crime (like securities crimes)?

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