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Jeff Sessions Fired, Mueller to be Next?

             11/10/2018

President Trump and Jeff Sessions

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

On Wednesday President Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, sparking predictable outrage from Democrats over fears of interference with the Mueller probe. While rumors had circulated for months that Sessions would be fired after the midterms, the swiftness of the firing, coming the very next day after the elections, was still unexpected. The President appointed Matthew G. Whitaker, Sessions’s chief of staff, as acting attorney general. Whitaker’s past criticism of the Mueller Probe has caused Democrats to condemn his appointment and to promise investigations into Session’s firing.

The President has long been critical of Jeff Sessions, largely due to his early recusal from the Mueller Probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. It is unclear if Whitaker will follow suit, but he has been very critical of the Mueller Probe’s ever-expanding scope, stating on CNN last year that a future Attorney General could defund or place other limits on the investigation. Additionally, in 2016, Whitaker argued that Hillary Clinton should have been charged for her use of a private email server. These statements have led Democrats to fear that he was selected by Trump to hinder current and future investigations into the administration.

Mueller is expected to conclude his report in the coming weeks and interference from Whitaker will only convince Trump critics that the administration is hiding something. Regardless of whether Whitaker attempts to bring an early end to the Mueller probe, which is unlikely, Democrats have already promised to investigate the circumstances of Jeff Session firing when the new Congress convenes in January. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York saying, “The firing of Jeff Sessions will be investigated and people will be held accountable.” While California Representative Adam Schiff, who will likely become the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said that any interference with the Mueller investigation “would cause a constitutional crisis and undermine the rule of law.”

The Sessions firing can now be added to the laundry list of matters which House Democrats have pledged to investigate when they assume the majority in January. Chuck Schumer stated, “I find the timing [of Sessions' firing] very suspect.” While others including Tom Perez, head of the DNC, are comparing it to the “Saturday Night Massacre” during Watergate. The Democrat’s alarmist rhetoric is unsurprising in the era of Trump, although their sudden defense of evangelical conservative and drug warrior Jeff Sessions is rather ironic.

The focus of attention relating to Sessions' Firing has been on the implications for the Mueller Probe. Absent from discussions have been the possibility of replacing Sessions with an individual who is more open to prison reform and scaling back or ending the War on Drugs, both topics which Trump has at times been warm to. However, early rumors are that Chris Christy will be nominated by Trump to replace Sessions. This appears to be an unfortunate choice as Christy will do little to sooth Trump’s critics, while his demeanor does little to inspire confidence that he will bring the necessary level of gravitas to the position as head law enforcement officer in the nation.

Regardless of who the President selects to replace Jeff Sessions, or what the acting Attorney General does regarding the Mueller Probe, Democrats and the media will have their usual field day of hyperbole about Watergate and “Constitutional Crisis’s.” Hopefully, Whitaker will allow the Mueller Probe to run its course, taking the wind out of the sails of Democratic attacks and exposing their alarmism. And hopefully, President Trump will take this opportunity to select someone as Attorney General who will be committed to making positive, liberty-inspired reforms to the justice system.

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