Time for Sessions to Leave DOJ, Senior Senate Leaders Say
As President Donald Trump’s relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to deteriorate, several key Republican Senators announced Thursday that they would support the president if he chooses to replace Sessions. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), both long-time colleagues of Sessions, told reporters Thursday that although Sessions has served the Justice Department with distinction, his lack of faith in the president and vice versa, has now become a distraction to the administration.
Graham, who spoke to SaraACarter.com on Thursday afternoon, noted that Sessions has served with distinction but Trump has the right to replace him as the relationship between the two is in disrepair.
The working relationship is strained, that happens on occasion and I support the president’s right to have a cabinet of his choosing
“I think this president, like every other president, has the right to pick cabinet members that he feels comfortable with, as long as they are qualified and competent. To suggest that President Trump is stuck with one attorney general for his eight years, or four years, is just not right,” said Graham. “Jeff Sessions is a fine man. There will come a day, I believe, when President Trump will want somebody new. The working relationship is strained, that happens on occasion and I support the president’s right to have a cabinet of his choosing.”
Tensions reached a boiling point Thursday after Sessions shot back at the president’s comments earlier that morning in an interview with Fox and Friend’s Ainsley Earhardt, that he “never took control of the Justice Department.”
Session’s issued a statement Thursday afternoon, writing, “I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda—one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty.”
Graham, who has called for a special counsel to investigate the mounting evidence of alleged possible misconduct by the FBI in the Russia probe and Hillary Clinton email server investigation, said Mueller’s investigation,”needs to run it’s course – sooner rather than later. I hope he gets it over with and you can’t replace Mr. Mueller unless there’s cause and I see no cause.”
Grassley said that there would be time for a hearing this year if Session’s is to be replaced.
“I do have time for hearings on nominees that the president might send up here that I didn’t have last year,” Grassley said Thursday, according to Bloomberg News.
Graham disagreed with some Republican and Democratic colleagues, who don’t want to replace Sessions. “I don’t buy the idea that there is no other conservative in the country that can get confirmed,” he said.
Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said told SaraACarter.com that “special counsels can only be appointed by the attorney general,” which would also include the acting attorney general if the confirmed attorney general were recused. But, she noted, “there’s only one AG for any given matter.”
Senior Congressional officials have complained that the Department of Justice has failed to appoint a special counsel to investigate the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe and the voluminous evidence that has been unearthed by congressional inquiries and investigations. Currently, the DOJ’s Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz is investigating the FBI’s role in the Trump-Russia investigation, but there is no indication that the report will be released anytime soon, according to sources. The DOJ has also appointed Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to handle the criminal referrals regarding leak investigations and other criminal matters. This includes a referral from Horowitz regarding former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired after the IG discovered he had lied numerous times to investigators and leaked information to the media regarding an ongoing investigation.
“I can’t confirm investigations on specific issues,” said Isgur Flores. “We’ve discussed the number of referrals we’ve had and that the number has been larger than in previous years. But that’s about all we can say.”
Isgur Flores noted that “referrals come from the intelligence agencies. So, in theory, they could say what matters have been referred because they are the victims in these cases, but we can’t.”
A former senior FBI official said that there is enormous frustration among FBI special agents who were handling cases like the ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation, and the “unscrupulous” behavior of senior FBI and DOJ officials in the very partisan handling of the investigations into both the Trump campaign and Clinton server investigation. Sessions announced last November that the DOJ is conducting 27 leak investigations, including the leak to the Washington Post disclosing a private conversation between then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“It seems that there is a pattern of investigations dying on the vine that is occurring for no other explainable reason but that senior executives both in the FBI and DOJ are choosing to allow them to die or forcing them to die,” said a former senior FBI official. “The people actually doing the investigating–the junior agents–aren’t the ones who can make the decisions to allow the case to die. It can only be done at the very senior levels at the FBI. AKA: the seventh floor.”