U. S. Constitutional Crisis: Trump Fires First Shot

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired
Jeff Sessions out as attorney general
By Laura Jarrett and Eli Watkins, CNN
Updated 7:15 PM ET, Wed November 7, 2018
Sessions, from Eagle Scout to former attorney general

President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"At your request I am submitting my resignation," Sessions wrote in a letter to White House chief of staff John Kelly. CM

Comments

  • reformedreformed Posts: 1,885

    Um, how is this a Constitutional Crisis? Hint: It's not.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    Trump vows ‘beautiful’ deals with Democrats but threatens ‘warlike’ retaliation to probes.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attempts-to-take-victory-lap-despite-republicans-losing-house/2018/11/07/8cec8226-e2a7-11e8-b759-3d88a5ce9e19_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9022d2fb9e7b

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/trump-congratulates-pelosi-mcconnell-after-2018-midterms/2018/11/07/3b9dcc9e-e2b2-11e8-ba30-a7ded04d8fac_video.html

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/politics/trump-sessions-russia-investigation-mueller/index.html

    A day after voters chose divided government by handing the House majority back to Democrats, President Donald Trump made the sort of I-do-what-feels-right-when-it-feels-right move that has become his hallmark over his past three years in political life: He fired Jeff Sessions.

    And in so doing, Trump appears to have wrestled back operational control of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the possibility of collusion between Trump's campaign and a foreign power.

    THE POINT -- NOW ON YOUTUBE!
    In each episode of his weekly YouTube show, Chris Cillizza will delve a little deeper into the surreal world of politics. Click to subscribe!

    In firing Sessions -- by tweet, natch -- Trump announced that Matt Whitaker, Sessions' chief of staff at Justice, would become the acting Attorney General, a post he can hold for roughly 200 days because he has not been confirmed previously by the Senate.
    But even having Whitaker in the job for the next 100 days could be enough for Trump. Whitaker has been openly critical of the breadth of Mueller's investigation and even mused on this chain of events in a 2017 interview with CNN:

    • "I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced, it would recess appointment and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigations grinds to almost a halt."

    Just a sample... CM

  • reformedreformed Posts: 1,885

    @C_M_ said:
    Trump vows ‘beautiful’ deals with Democrats but threatens ‘warlike’ retaliation to probes.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attempts-to-take-victory-lap-despite-republicans-losing-house/2018/11/07/8cec8226-e2a7-11e8-b759-3d88a5ce9e19_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9022d2fb9e7b

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/trump-congratulates-pelosi-mcconnell-after-2018-midterms/2018/11/07/3b9dcc9e-e2b2-11e8-ba30-a7ded04d8fac_video.html

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/politics/trump-sessions-russia-investigation-mueller/index.html

    A day after voters chose divided government by handing the House majority back to Democrats, President Donald Trump made the sort of I-do-what-feels-right-when-it-feels-right move that has become his hallmark over his past three years in political life: He fired Jeff Sessions.

    Give it a break. This has been coming for months and didn't surprise anyone.

    And in so doing, Trump appears to have wrestled back operational control of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the possibility of collusion between Trump's campaign and a foreign power.

    Which of course has no evidence.

    THE POINT -- NOW ON YOUTUBE!
    In each episode of his weekly YouTube show, Chris Cillizza will delve a little deeper into the surreal world of politics. Click to subscribe!

    Who??

    In firing Sessions -- by tweet, natch -- Trump announced that Matt Whitaker, Sessions' chief of staff at Justice, would become the acting Attorney General, a post he can hold for roughly 200 days because he has not been confirmed previously by the Senate.

    By tweet? He didn't fire Sessions by tweet. Good grief. Fake news.

    But even having Whitaker in the job for the next 100 days could be enough for Trump. Whitaker has been openly critical of the breadth of Mueller's investigation and even mused on this chain of events in a 2017 interview with CNN:

    So?

    • "I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced, it would recess appointment and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigations grinds to almost a halt."

    Just a sample... CM

    Still not a constitutional crisis. It has been two years and Mueller hasn't turned up anything against Trump. Time to shut it down anyway. That's not a Constitutional crisis.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,142

    @reformed said:

    Give it a break. This has been coming for months and didn't surprise anyone.

    Transparently troublesome actions are still troublesome, whether they're surprising or not. That the president fired Sessions ONLY because the attorney general followed Justice Department regulations and recused from the Russia investigation, and ONLY to exert more control over Mueller's probe of HIM, his family, and his campaign is transparently troublesome. Surely you agree with me, reformed, that NO subject/target of a criminal investigation should have ANY decision-making authority over the personnel, conduct, or outcome of that investigation, don't you?

    Which of course has no evidence.

    How do you know there is no evidence?

    By tweet? He didn't fire Sessions by tweet. Good grief. Fake news.

    No, but the president DID announce the firing by tweet, and did NOT fire Sessions himself. By now it's clear that the "You're fired!" man of "The Apprentice" era was always nothing more than a contrived television persona; he doesn't exist in real life.

    So?

    It's a problem that Whitaker has expressed so much criticism of the Mueller probe when he had NO idea about the evidence Mueller's team has gathered. (In that way, it's akin to your oft-stated conclusion that Mueller has "no evidence" against the president when you have no idea what evidence Mueller has.) Given the content of Whitaker's past criticism, AND the fact that the president circumvented the normal attorney general succession structure (to choose a chief of staff!) CLEARLY because he wanted more control over the Mueller probe than deputy AG Rosenstein would have allowed, are big problems.

    Still not a constitutional crisis. It has been two years and Mueller hasn't turned up anything against Trump. Time to shut it down anyway. That's not a Constitutional crisis.

    Again, you don't know that "Mueller hasn't turned up anything against Trump." Or perhaps you do. Please prove your statement.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @reformed said:

    Still not a constitutional crisis. It has been two years and Mueller hasn't turned up anything against Trump. Time to shut it down anyway. That's not a Constitutional crisis.

    Hold up, young man! Not so fast! There may be "sealed indictments" farmed out around the country. Mueller is not an amateur. Trump is afraid, angry, desperate, and out of control. The master of distraction is at it again; trying to take away from the Dems wins. The out-of-control teenage-acting President will be held accountable for his past and future behaviors. CM

  • reformedreformed Posts: 1,885

    @Bill_Coley said:

    @reformed said:

    Give it a break. This has been coming for months and didn't surprise anyone.

    Transparently troublesome actions are still troublesome, whether they're surprising or not. That the president fired Sessions ONLY because the attorney general followed Justice Department regulations and recused from the Russia investigation, and ONLY to exert more control over Mueller's probe of HIM, his family, and his campaign is transparently troublesome. Surely you agree with me, reformed, that NO subject/target of a criminal investigation should have ANY decision-making authority over the personnel, conduct, or outcome of that investigation, don't you?

    The President is not the subject of any investigation Bill. Of course, REAL criminal investigations don't go looking for a crime, there is first evidence a crime has been committed.

    Which of course has no evidence.

    How do you know there is no evidence?

    2 years of nothing has demonstrated that emphatically.

    By tweet? He didn't fire Sessions by tweet. Good grief. Fake news.

    No, but the president DID announce the firing by tweet, and did NOT fire Sessions himself. By now it's clear that the "You're fired!" man of "The Apprentice" era was always nothing more than a contrived television persona; he doesn't exist in real life.

    He asked for his resignation. That's usually how President's fire personnel so they keep their dignity.

    So?

    It's a problem that Whitaker has expressed so much criticism of the Mueller probe when he had NO idea about the evidence Mueller's team has gathered. (In that way, it's akin to your oft-stated conclusion that Mueller has "no evidence" against the president when you have no idea what evidence Mueller has.) Given the content of Whitaker's past criticism, AND the fact that the president circumvented the normal attorney general succession structure (to choose a chief of staff!) CLEARLY because he wanted more control over the Mueller probe than deputy AG Rosenstein would have allowed, are big problems.

    I would be happy if the probe ends today. It's a waste of time, money etc...

    Still not a constitutional crisis. It has been two years and Mueller hasn't turned up anything against Trump. Time to shut it down anyway. That's not a Constitutional crisis.

    Again, you don't know that "Mueller hasn't turned up anything against Trump." Or perhaps you do. Please prove your statement.

    If there was something, we would have known by now. If you can't find something in two years sufficient enough to charge, you need to go home and quit your day job.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,142

    @reformed said:
    The President is not the subject of any investigation Bill. Of course, REAL criminal investigations don't go looking for a crime, there is first evidence a crime has been committed.

    In federal criminal investigations, there are three basic categories of involvement: witnesses, subjects, and targets. According to the DOJ Handbook, a "subject" is "a person whose conduct is within the scope of a Grand Jury’s investigation." The president's "conduct is within the scope" of Mueller's investigation. He is AT LEAST a subject.

    "REAL criminal investigations" probably also produce indictments of alleged criminal activity, yes? To-date, 34 people or entities, including four Americans, have been indicted and/or pleaded guilty in the Mueller probe. "REAL" enough for you?

    2 years of nothing has demonstrated that emphatically.

    How does two years of Mueller's silence - no leaks - about the president's or his campaign's involvement with the Russians demonstrate anything? Couldn't it be that Mueller has made the prosecutorial decision not to comment AT ALL until what he believes is the right time?

    He asked for his resignation. That's usually how President's fire personnel so they keep their dignity.

    Usually, presidents have enough respect for the cabinet people they fire to ask for their resignations personally. Trump never does even that much.

    I would be happy if the probe ends today. It's a waste of time, money etc...

    This comment does not respond to my observations about Whitaker's objectivity or the process by which Trump chose him.

    If there was something, we would have known by now. If you can't find something in two years sufficient enough to charge, you need to go home and quit your day job.

    This is your surmise; it is NOT proof of your claim. You do not KNOW - because you CAN'T POSSIBLY know - what Mueller has or doesn't have.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 1,885

    @Bill_Coley said:

    He asked for his resignation. That's usually how President's fire personnel so they keep their dignity.

    Usually, presidents have enough respect for the cabinet people they fire to ask for their resignations personally. Trump never does even that much.

    Um, how do you know he didn't do that with Sessions? Did I miss something?

    I would be happy if the probe ends today. It's a waste of time, money etc...

    This comment does not respond to my observations about Whitaker's objectivity or the process by which Trump chose him.

    It doesn't matter is what I am saying.

    If there was something, we would have known by now. If you can't find something in two years sufficient enough to charge, you need to go home and quit your day job.

    This is your surmise; it is NOT proof of your claim. You do not KNOW - because you CAN'T POSSIBLY know - what Mueller has or doesn't have.

    If he has something, then bring it forward. He has had more than enough time.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Bill_Coley said:

    "REAL criminal investigations" probably also produce indictments of alleged criminal activity, yes? To-date, 34 people or entities, including four Americans, have been indicted and/or pleaded guilty in the Mueller probe. "REAL" enough for you?

    Bill,
    Nationwide protest/march is underway in NYC to protect Bob Mueller, tonight. Trump's son is soon to be indicted. The second Trump trick is to put his man in to find out what Mueller has so far on him and put some in Rosenstein or someone else in permanently. CM

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,142

    @reformed said:
    Um, how do you know he didn't do that with Sessions? Did I miss something?

    I think forum exchanges should about issues, not posters, so what you may or may not have missed is not a concern of mine.

    All the reporting I've seen on the matter is that the president did not contact Sessions, but instead directed Chief of Staff Kelly to do so. To wit, this report from CBSNews.com...

    "A senior Justice Department official said White House chief of staff John Kelly called Sessions to request his resignation. The president did not call him. A senior White House official told CBS News that the president had been "itching to pull this trigger" since before the midterm elections, but held off on the urging of Senate GOP leadership and senior White House advisers. Sessions has repeatedly come under attack by Mr. Trump for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election."

    A simple Google search will produce multiple examples of the same basic facts.

    I would be happy if the probe ends today. It's a waste of time, money etc...

    It doesn't matter is what I am saying.

    How I'm supposed to infer the message that Whitaker's objectivity and the president's rejection of the usual succession structure "(don't) matter" from your report that you'd be happy if the wasteful probe ended today is not clear to me. Especially now that several legal scholars, including conservatives members of that collective, are raising serious questions about the constitutionality of Whitaker's appointment. (Read Justice Clarence Thomas' concurrence in THIS CASE from 2017, where the issue is the "principals" clause in the Constitution. His basic point of view is that any "principal" officer in the government - and the attorney general is certainly one - MUST be confirmed by the Senate, even if it's only for a temporary appointment.)

    If he has something, then bring it forward. He has had more than enough time.

    Here you change your argument from "If there was something, we would have known by now" (previous post) to "If he has something, he needs to bring it forward" (most recent post). May I take this as your acknowledgement that in fact you DON'T know what Mueller has?

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    Article 2 of the constitution needs to be reviewed. There is no emergency. The AG must be confirmed by the Senate. Trump's action is illegal (light his election), shameful, and will be proven unconstitutional. Whitaker would have no "standing" before the Senate or in court.

    Mr. Sessions was used and mocked by Trump. Your President has no shame. CM

  • reformedreformed Posts: 1,885

    @C_M_ said:
    Article 2 of the constitution needs to be reviewed. There is no emergency. The AG must be confirmed by the Senate. Trump's action is illegal (light his election), shameful, and will be proven unconstitutional. Whitaker would have no "standing" before the Senate or in court.

    Mr. Sessions was used and mocked by Trump. Your President has no shame. CM

    Notice the new person is not the AG but the ACTING AG. There is a difference. This is not illegal. Get a grip.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @reformed said:

    @C_M_ said:
    Article 2 of the constitution needs to be reviewed. There is no emergency. The AG must be confirmed by the Senate. Trump's action is illegal (light his election), shameful, and will be proven unconstitutional. Whitaker would have no "standing" before the Senate or in court.

    Mr. Sessions was used and mocked by Trump. Your President has no shame. CM

    Notice the new person is not the AG but the ACTING AG. There is a difference. This is not illegal. Get a grip.

    You're too smart by half:

    • AG = Acting Attorney General
    • AG = Attorney General

    I am sorry you didn't get my abbreviation. I owe you a candy bar of your choice. CM

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