Actually, the problem appears to be more that he does. Donald Trump took time out this morning to beat one of his favorite nearly-dead horses, Jeff Sessions, over his recusal from the Russia probe. “I don’t have an Attorney General,” Trump told The Hill in an interview this morning from the White House. “It’s very sad.”
In more ways than one …
President Trump in an Oval Office interview with Hill.TV launched one of his most ferocious broadsides to date against Jeff Sessions, suggesting the attorney general was essentially AWOL and performing badly on a variety of issues.
“I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” Trump told Hill.TV in an extensive and freewheeling interview Tuesday from the Oval Office. …
“I’m so sad over Jeff Sessions because he came to me. He was the first senator that endorsed me. And he wanted to be attorney general, and I didn’t see it,” he said.
“And then he went through the nominating process and he did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused, and people that worked with him for, you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him, but he was giving very confusing answers. Answers that should have been easily answered. And that was a rough time for him.”
This time, Trump’s complaints have gone well beyond the recusal. He blamed Sessions for the lack of progress on border security too, declaring “I’m not happy at the border, I’m not happy with numerous things, not just this.” That might come as a surprise to Sessions, who imposed a zero-tolerance enforcement policy in such a manner as to precipitate a political crisis over family separations. Courts later checked Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, ordering injunctions against such enforcement, but the issue was hardly a reluctance on Sessions’ part.
All of this tends to ignore the fact that Trump could make a change at AG any time he likes. Trump has no impediment to firing Sessions or demanding that he resign, which is the same thing. Cabinet secretaries serve at the pleasure of the president. Trump might have one hell of a time getting a nominee through the Senate to replace him, but it’s hardly an abuse of power to get rid of him. He can either live with Rod Rosenstein as acting AG or move up Noel Francisco into that position for a few months through the Vacancy Act. Poof! Problem resolved!
Trump just apparently doesn’t want to be seen pulling the trigger. Instead, he’s trying to shame Sessions into resigning his dream job — and Sessions simply won’t cooperate. That’s a form of resistance that actually might be more effective at getting under Trump’s skin than anything else. Which raises the question: Is Sessions the anonymous Resister who wrote that NYT op-ed? Mika Brzezinski wonders the same thing.