In America, we don’t persecute defeated party leaders. That’s the stuff of Robespierre, Stalin, and Mao.
Even Donald Trump seemed to recognize this. In his better moments on the campaign trail, he responded to chants of “lock her up” with “defeat her.” After his election, Trump let it be known that he did not intend to prosecute Hillary Clinton.
For his part, Attorney General Sessions has been focusing on the things Trump said he would do — notably, cracking down on gangs and illegal immigration — not the things Trump said he wouldn’t do — prosecuting Hillary Clinton. This has made our erratic president unhappy.
If President Trump wanted to reverse course and have the Justice Department aggressively go after Hillary, he should have made this desire known to the Attorney General. Did Trump ever so instruct Sessions? Did he ever even inquire about the status of DOJ investigation[s] of Clinton? There is no indication in Trump’s tweets or other public venting that he did.
Jeff Sessions is pursuing Trump’s policy agenda, not the president’s personal one. This, of course, is praiseworthy.
But not in Trump World. In Trump World, the personal outweighs policy. Indeed, I wonder how sincere Trump’s policy agenda is. After all, Trump leaned Democrat most of his life. Had the Democratic Party provided a realistic vehicle for his presidential ambitions, it’s not difficult to imagine him spewing left-wing talking points in his demagogic style.
Frankly, Jeff Sessions should have realized this from the start. He should have endorsed Ted Cruz, a true conservative of far better temperament than Trump.
Everyone makes mistakes, though. The punishment Sessions is receiving, from the beneficiary of his mistake no less, doesn’t fit the crime.