CNN: Sessions – Trump Rift Deepens — AG Offered To Resign — White House Declines “Vote Of Confidence”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/06/politics/trump-and-sessions-have-had-heated-exchange/index.html

CNN reports:

“Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have had a series of heated exchanges in the last several weeks after Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, a source close to Sessions told CNN Tuesday.

A senior administration official said that at one point, Sessions expressed he would be willing to resign if Trump no longer wanted him there.
The frustration comes at a critical juncture for Trump. Former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify Thursday about his private discussions with Trump and the Russia investigation has lapped into the White House, with questions about the President’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.
Tuesday afternoon, White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to say whether Trump has confidence in Sessions.
“I have not had a discussion with him about that,” Spicer said.
As of 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, the White House still was unable to say whether or not the President backs his attorney general, a White House official said. The official said they wanted to avoid a repeat of what happened when Kellyanne Conway said Trump had confidence in Flynn only to find out hours later that the national security adviser had been pushed out.
Sessions remains at the Justice Department, where a spokeswoman told CNN that he is not stepping down.”
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Read the complete article at the link.
Wow! Who would have thought that Jeff Sessions could be the first Cabinet casualty? Must say, I didn’t see this one coming! In recusing himself from the Russia probe, Sessions not only did the ethical thing, but also saved Trump from the firestorm that would have ensued had he continued to participate in the investigation.
Sessions is nutsos on most legal issues, but I have to give him credit for showing backbone and independence here. Sounds like he might be gone before the 4th of July, particularly if the Supremes turn down the Travel Ban case, which I think becomes more likely with each Trump escapade. I’d also guess that Rosenstein and Brand would follow him out the door, leaving the DOJ essentially leaderless at a critical time.

If Sessions can’t survive, who would want the AG job? And anyone who would take it, and was satisfactory to Trump, might well have problems getting confirmed, even with the GOP in charge.

Stay tuned.
PWS
06-07-17

BREAKING: Sessions In Hot Water Over Failure To Disclose Contacts With Russian Ambassador — Administration Tries To Deflect Controversy!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/01/politics/jeff-sessions-russian-ambassador-meetings/index.html

Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Eli Watkins write on CNN:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice last year with the top Russian diplomat in Washington whose interactions with former Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn led to Flynn’s firing, according to the Justice Department.

Sessions did not mention either meeting during his confirmation hearings when he said he knew of no contacts between Trump surrogates and Russians. A Justice official said Sessions didn’t mislead senators during his confirmation.
The Washington Post first reported on Sessions’ meetings with the official. Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, is considered by US intelligence to be one of Russia’s top spies and spy-recruiters in Washington, according to current and former senior US government officials.

Sessions met with Kislyak twice, in July on the sidelines of the Republican convention, and in September in his office when Sessions was a member of the Senate Armed Services committee. Sessions was an early Trump backer and regular surrogate for him as a candidate.
Attorney General Sessions responded swiftly Wednesday, strongly stating that he never discussed campaign-related issues with anyone from Russia.
“I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign,” he said in a statement. “I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

Key Democratic lawmakers immediately called for Sessions’ resignation after the news broke.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi characterized Sessions’ comments in his confirmation “apparent perjury,” and said the attorney general should resign.
Kislyak’s potential proximity to Russian spying is one reason why Flynn’s interactions with him, and Flynn’s failure to disclose what he discussed with Kislyak, raised concerns among intelligence officials.
In his confirmation hearing to become attorney general, Sessions was asked about Russia and he responded at the time that he “did not have communications with the Russians.”

Sessions’ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said there was nothing “misleading about his answer” to Congress because the Alabama Republican “was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign — not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee.”

. . . .

Minnesota Democrat Sen. Al Franken, who asked Sessions about Russia at the confirmation hearing, said if the reports of Sessions’ contacts with Kislyak were true then Sessions’ response was “at best misleading.”
“It’s clearer than ever now that the attorney general cannot, in good faith, oversee an investigation at the Department of Justice and the FBI of the Trump-Russia connection, and he must recuse himself immediately,” Franken said.”

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Although somewhat lost in the shuffle, in another controversial move, on Tuesday, Attorney General Sessions announced another major shift on civil rights policy. He said that the DOJ would drop pending investigations of unwarranted violence and violations of civil rights by local police. By giving local police a free hand, Sessions said that he expected that poor and minority  individuals living in high crime areas would be “safe, happier.” Sessions’s actions were met by skepticism from many civil rights advocates and African American community leaders.

PWS

03/02/17

UPDATE FROM CNN:  Top GOP Reps Chaffetz and McCarthy Call For Sessions To Recuse!

“The revelation prompted key Democrats to call for Sessions’ resignation and led two top Republicans to call on him to recuse himself from Trump-Russia inquiries.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Sessions should “clarify his testimony,” while House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, in an interview with MSNBC, said Sessions should not participate in such investigations for “the trust of the American people.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, told CNN’s “New Day” that Sessions’ testimony in January was “extremely misleading.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/01/politics/jeff-sessions-russian-ambassador-meetings/index.html

PWS

03/02/17