Trump’s tweets sug­gest he will oust Ses­sions

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Local - BY DON LEE

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has been warring with his at­tor­ney gen­eral, Jeff Ses­sions, since Ses­sions re­cused him­self from the FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sia’s elec­tion-med­dling, which has led to the mount­ing le­gal prob­lems for Trump and his as­so­ciates as spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller in­ves­ti­gates po­ten­tial col­lu­sion.

Now, af­ter this week’s guilty plea from Trump’s for­mer per­sonal lawyer Michael Co­hen, the tax fraud con­vic­tion of for­mer Trump cam­paign man­ager Paul Manafort and news that the Trump or­ga­ni­za­tion’s long­time chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer may be co­op­er­at­ing with pros­e­cu­tors, Trump is stepping up his at­tacks against Ses­sions and ap­pears to be lay­ing the ground­work to fire the na­tion’s top law en­force­ment of­fi­cial.

In Twit­ter posts Satur­day morn­ing, Trump again sought to dis­tance him­self from the Co­hen case and im­pli­ca­tions that he did any­thing wrong, and he wrote: “Jeff Ses­sions said he wouldn’t al­low pol­i­tics to in­flu­ence him only be­cause he doesn’t un­der­stand what is hap­pen­ing un­der­neath his com­mand po­si­tion. Highly con­flicted Bob Mueller and his gang of 17 An­gry Dems are hav­ing a field day as real cor­rup­tion goes un­touched. No Col­lu­sion!”

Trump then posted re­marks made by Sen. Lind­sey Graham, R-S.C., Fri­day when the sen­a­tor was asked by Fox News about the ac­ri­mo­nious re­la­tions be­tween Trump and Ses­sions: “Ev­ery pres­i­dent de­serves an at­tor­ney gen­eral they have con­fi­dence in. I be­lieve ev­ery pres­i­dent has a right to their Cabi­net; these are not life­time ap­point­ments. You serve at the plea­sure of the pres­i­dent.”

About 20 min­utes later, Trump brought up his long-run­ning com­plaint that Ses­sions and the FBI had not done a proper job of in­ves­ti­gat­ing the con­tro­versy over Hil­lary Clin­ton’s use of pri­vate emails while she was sec­re­tary of state. Re­fer­ring to a Fox re­port on the email scan­dal, Trump wrote: “Big story out that the FBI ig­nored tens of thou­sands of Crooked Hil­lary Emails, many of which are RE­ALLY BAD. Also gave false elec­tion info. I feel sure that we will soon be get­ting to the bot­tom of all of this cor­rup­tion. At some point I may have to get in­volved!”

Whether his com­ment that he might get per­son­ally in­volved was re­fer­ring to Ses­sions wasn’t clear, but the lat­est Twit­ter posts re­flect Trump’s swelling ag­i­ta­tion at the wi­den­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Mueller. And in cit­ing Graham’s re­marks, Trump may have de­cided to use that open­ing to re­move Ses­sions. Trump has made clear he wants to shut down the spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tion, or at least refocus it on his po­lit­i­cal en­e­mies, and Ses­sions is his big­gest ob­sta­cle right now. But such a move would have ma­jor le­gal and po­lit­i­cal reper­cus­sions, rais­ing the prospect to ob­struc­tion of jus­tice and fur­ther jeop­ar­diz­ing sev­eral vul­ner­a­ble Repub­li­cans in the midterm elec­tions. Democrats are de­mand­ing Congress pass leg­is­la­tion that shields the spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tion from be­ing dis­banded by Trump or his ad­min­is­tra­tion. Repub­li­can lead­ers are balk­ing on ad­vanc­ing it.

The Repub­li­cans have ar­gued through­out the in­ves­ti­ga­tion that they are con­fi­dent Trump would not try to in­ter­fere with it, and thus, they said, leg­is­la­tion pro­tect­ing Mueller was un­nec­es­sary. Now, the pres­i­dent has com­pli­cated mat­ters for them.

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