House Judiciary Committee Democrats on Thursday defended Attorney General Jeff Sessions against any attempts by President Trump to oust Sessions from his role.
In a press conference discussing their push to introduce legislation that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller from any of Trump’s potential efforts to ax the special counsel, Judiciary Committee Democrats suggested firing Sessions would be just as much an obstruction of justice as discharging Mueller.
“While no one has been a bigger critic of Jeff Sessions than me, nobody,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said, “with all the damage that Sessions has done and may still do to voting rights, to immigrants, to Latinos, to women, to muslims — if Trump fires Sessions in order to rein in the Russia investigation, there would be no choice, but for this committee to go forward with impeachment. … It will leave a lot of Republicans with no choice but to go forward with us.”
The rest of the committee reiterated that sentiment. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) said replacing the attorney general would begin the “waterfall” of a “constitutional crisis.”
For the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, the defense of Sessions came alongside a push to introduce legislation that would protect Mueller from Trump’s ire.
The Dems lamented their inability to get language shielding Mueller in the omnibus spending bill set for a vote in the House Thursday.
Democrats also attempted to thrust other provisions into the spending bill, like language that would provide protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, but many of those measures were met with opposition.
Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) said the exclusion of language to protect Mueller in the $1.3 trillion spending bill would just fuel Democrats efforts to keep pushing for Mueller-shielding legislation, which she claims will be necessary to keep Trump, “a narcissist,” from continuing his “pattern” of “reckless disregard for the rule of law.”
Jackson Lee also hinted that the push to protect Mueller may soon prove to be more dire, mentioning “rumoring” that Republican members of the Judiciary Committee may soon make moves that would “shut down” Congress’ Russia investigations.
“I’m sad to say that rumoring, between tonight and tomorrow, are some subpoenas to be issued unilaterally by one party of this committee, and it’s not us, to begin an action on issues that have occurred on individuals who are not in government, per se,” she said.
“And so they want to shut down the Intelligence Committee’s investigation,” she continued. “They want to begin a unilateral investigation on issues that deal with individuals who are no longer in federal government, but they will not look at the President of the United States, who has a history of firing, misleading, calling it a witch hunt and intimidating the deputy attorney general and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”