President Donald Trump is still mulling what to do about Jeff Sessions, but congressional Republicans, pro-Trump journalists and members of his own administration are sending increasingly explicit signals that firing the man Trump referred to as his “beleaguered” attorney general would spark a riot in the GOP.
New reports out Wednesday night from the Washington Post and New York Times suggest that outpouring of support renders Sessions’ job safe for the moment, and that Trump’s continued jabs are just a way for the frustrated President to put Sessions firmly in his place.
But he does not appear quite ready to let Sessions off the hook for his decision to recuse himself from the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The Post reported that Trump has spoken to advisers about installing a new attorney general when Congress is out for August recess, which would allow the appointee to skirt around Senate confirmation and serve through the end of 2017.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle already have signaled that they would use procedural maneuvers to block such a plan. In a Wednesday evening tweet, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said that his panel’s schedule was already full and would not consider hearings for a new attorney general.
“AG no way,” he wrote.
Everybody in D.C. Shld b warned that the agenda for the judiciary Comm is set for rest of 2017. Judges first subcabinet 2nd / AG no way
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) July 27, 2017
The White House sent the Post a brief statement from Trump denying that he was considering a recess appointment.
“More fake news from the Amazon Washington Post,” the President said, referring to the fact that the newspaper is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Sessions, for his part, apparently got the message about Trump’s simmering anger. He has stayed away from the press except to float the rollout of several new policies guaranteed to please the President. These include cutting off federal funding for sanctuary cities that don’t allow federal immigration agents to enter their prisons and jails and a new crackdown on intelligence leaks.
Sessions is headed for a temporary respite from the political heat in Washington, as he’s scheduled to spend the next few days in El Salvador, where the Associated Press reported he is expected to meet with lawmakers to discuss ways to eradicate gang violence.