August 30, 2018
Is Jeff Sessions' opposition to modest sentencing reforms going to cost him his job as Attorney General?
The question in the title of this post — which I would answer "I hope so" — is prompted by this Politico article fully headlined "Trump personally lobbying GOP senators to flip on Sessions: Opposition to the attorney general's firing, long seen as a red line by lawmakers, has softened in recent days." Here is an excerpt from the piece of note to sentencing fans:
The president, who has spent a year and a half fulminating against his attorney general in public, finally got traction on Capitol Hill thanks to the growing frustration of a handful of GOP senators with their former colleague – most importantly, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, who have been irritated by Sessions’ opposition to a criminal justice reform bill they support, according to interviews with more than a half-dozen congressional GOP aides, Trump advisers, and Republicans close to the White House....
Over the past week, Trump has belittled Sessions in conversations with several Republican senators, including Graham, and the idea of dismissing him no longer provokes the political anxiety it once did.
Along with Graham and Grassley, Sessions has also alienated presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, the chief White House proponent of the Graham-Grassley approach on criminal justice reform, as well as his wife, Ivanka Trump.
After a meeting last week that included Trump, Sessions and Kushner, the White House and McConnell delayed action on the issue until after the midterms. Grassley and other backers of the effort left the meeting hopeful for progress at that point. But Sessions’ office put out a sharply negative statement that suggested the president had come out against any sentencing reform in the legislation.
Holly Harris, a longtime Kentucky GOP strategist pushing for a reform deal from the helm of the nonprofit Justice Action Network, blasted Sessions for an “absolute mischaracterization” of the White Houses stance on the issue. “DOJ is making so many enemies in so many places now that I actually think it’s going to help our legislation. I think they’ve gone way too far,” Harris said, describing Sessions’ actions on the issue as “off the rails.”
The criminal justice issue has been an ongoing sore point between Sessions and Grassley. The House passed a narrower bill in May that doesn’t include changes to sentencing requirements — something Sessions strongly opposes but that Grassley and others, including Graham, have insisted on adding.
When Sessions spoke out against a broader criminal justice bill that the Judiciary Committee passed in February, Grassley publicly dressed him down. “Look at how hard it was for me to get him through committee in the United States Senate,” the senator said then. “And look at, when the president was going to fire him, I went to his defense.”
No longer. Though Grassley had previously said he could not schedule hearing time to confirm a new attorney general, he changed his tune last week. “I do have time for hearings on nominees that the president might send up here that I didn’t have last year,” Grassley said last week.
Prior related post:
UPDATE: This new Bloomberg piece suggests AG Sessions will be in his job at least for the next few month: "Trump Says He’ll Keep Sessions Until November Despite ‘Illegal’ Probe"
August 30, 2018 at 12:45 PM | Permalink
If Trump is going to fire Sessions he'd better do it before a new Democratic majority the House votes to impeach him.
Posted by: Daniel | Aug 30, 2018 4:57:12 PM
Daniel, you just hit a home run. To me it looks like all roads of corruption lead back to Trump. I just done see how he can side step the big mess much longer.
Washington is spending so much time on the Russian thingy and indicting Trumps cabinet its no wonder mothing is getting done.
Myself, I would like to see Sessions go and Cotton just plain go away, silently
Fat chance on that happening right.
Posted by: MidWestGuy | Aug 31, 2018 7:15:57 AM