The beleaguering of Jeff Sessions

Last week President Trump complained on the record to New York Times White House reporters Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman about Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump expressed profound dissatisfaction with Sessions’s recusal from investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign. Sessions’s recusal covers what is now the Special Counsel investigation under the direction of Robert Mueller. I read Trump’s remarks to be an (unsubtle) invitation to Sessions to resign.

Trump followed up his remarks to the Times with disparaging tweets. Yesterday he characterized Sessions as “our beleaguered A. G.” (tweet below). His tweet asked what appears to be a rhetorical question about the failure to investigate “Crooked Hillary[‘]s crimes & Russia relations[.]” Trump omitted any mention of who was beleaguering the A.G..

Trump is a persistent guy. This morning he returned to the subject of missing Clinton investigations. In the tweet below he inquires concerning the investigation concerning “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage the Trump campaign” (tweet below).

Trump followed up with a tweet declaring that Sessions has taken “a VERY weak position on “Hillary Clinton crimes” (tweet below).

And that’s not all (tweet below).

Trump’s public humiliation of his appointed Attorney General is unprecedented. It is unseemly. It is also unnecessary. Trump could privately ask for Sessions’s resignation at any time; Sessions serves at the pleasure of the president. Trump somehow thinks that his public humiliation of Sessions to induce his resignation is preferable to seeking Sessions’s resignation directly.

I can’t imagine why Trump thinks that. I think it is a mistake, as is likely to become clear when Sessions resigns and Trump designates his successor subject to confirmation by the Senate. We shall see, probably sooner rather than later.

UPDATE: The AP provides background in “AP sources: Trump speaks to advisers about firing Sessions.” So does McClatchy in “Trump messes with Sessions, and Senate Republicans are not pleased.” The Washington Post considers the possibilities in “Trump leaves Sessions twisting in the wind while berating him publicly.” New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci spoke to Hugh Hewitt this morning to the same effect (transcript posted here).

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