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Jeff Sessions, in a Stronger Position Than You Think

The President criticized Attorney General Sessions for the third consecutive day today. The President's quite explicit disappointment with Sessions has led many to believe the Attorney General's days on the job are numbered.

I believe there are grounds to think otherwise.
First and foremost, Sessions is right on the merits.  The dispute about the appointment of a Special Counsel is not simply about temperament or political interest.  It's about law. Under the governing statute and regulations, see 18 USC 528, Sessions, having been an adviser to Trump during the campaign, bears at least the appearance of a conflict of interest were he to supervise or take any substantial role in the Russia investigation. Under the statutory language, recusing himself was therefore the right thing to do. (For similar reasons, I have argued that Bob Mueller, also a man of rectitude, should step aside in favor of someone without a long relationship with Jim Comey,).

The Attorney General is appointed by the President, but he is not a servant of the President.  He is a servant of the law.  

Second, Sessions has a strength that seldom gets mentioned in the press:  He is popular in the Republican Party and particularly with conservatives, who support his career-long tough-on-crime agenda.  There is much befuddlement as to why the President doesn't simply fire Sessions, given his obvious level of frustration.  I think the answer is that Mr. Trump is not quite as impulsive as his critics believe, and can spot a backlash when he sees one coming.  Conservatives, and particularly law-and-order conservatives, are the President's base.  As today's Obamacare motion-to-proceed vote (51-50) shows, the President has essentially no room for deterioration with that base, either among the public or in Congress.

Third, Sessions is essential to an important component of the President's program for governing, as Kent showed in his post today.  With experience as a United States Attorney, Attorney General of Alabama, and 20 years in the Senate, no one has Sessions' qualifications to lead DOJ in the areas where the President wants it led.  We should remember here that it was the President's team that fashioned the first night of the convention that nominated him, "Make America Safe Again."  With the spike in murder now into its third year, Jeff Sessions is the right man for the job, as President Trump correctly saw (and, I suspect, still sees).

Fourth, Sessions' character and steadfastness are not to be underestimated.  He was falsely accused of racism in the 1980's when he was denied an appointment as a federal district judge, but went on to hold considerable power on the very same Senate Committee (once chaired by Teddy Kennedy) that treated him so poorly.  He was also the leader of the successful fight over the last few years to turn back legislative efforts at mass sentencing reduction for felony-level drug pushers.  He won this fight notwithstanding a united Democratic Party pushing for it, along with President Obama and several influential billionaires (the otherwise-estimable Koch brothers and the not-so-estimable leftist George Soros).

Sessions knows he has work to do, and aims to do it.

In the end, I believe the President may come to see that, despite his unhappiness, the Attorney General is serving him in a unique and uniquely helpful way:  In an Administration that has been plastered with attacks about ethical lapses, many of them overheated and some just fabricated, Sessions has been faithful to the law in a way that now even his critics acknowledge.  In moving forward, not just with the President's substantive agenda, but with the restoration of integrity to the Department of Justice  -- even (some might say especially) where following the rules proves frustrating  -- Sessions is exactly what the doctor ordered for the President effectively to advance his plans for immigration, civil rights, and true criminal justice reform.  


All true but I no longer have confidence that the President is capable of consistently making calm, dispassionate,long-term judgments.

Decencyevolves: I worry about the President's lack of respect for the law and basic democratic norms. His affection for authoritarianism and seeming belief that every officer and branch of the federal government should serve his own personal interests is genuinely frightening. I know Bill Otis said he was pleased with his vote for Trump earlier this year. Does he still feel that way?

I see some karma here: AG Sessions, by recommending the firing of FBI head Comey, may have given Prez Trump the impression that he could and should fire leaders inside DOJ who were not doing only what Trump wants. Now Trump continues to stew that AG Sessions is not doing what Trump wants.

Ironically, AG Sessions may well survive because there is nobody supporting Trump's desire to fire him. Comey was sent packing because Sessions supported Trump's desire to fire him.

Decencyevolves: I worry about the President's lack of respect for the law and basic democratic norms. His affection for authoritarianism and seeming belief that every officer and branch of the federal government should serve his own personal interests is genuinely frightening. I know Bill Otis said he was pleased with his vote for Trump earlier this year. Does he still feel that way?

~ “A.u.t.h.o.r.i.t.a.r.i.a.n”
Any chance of fairness?

Spying on The Associated Press
by The NYT Editorial Board, May 14, 2013

“The Obama administration, which has a chilling zeal for investigating leaks and prosecuting leakers, has failed to offer a credible justification for secretly combing through the phone records of reporters and editors at The Associated Press in
what looks like a fishing expedition for sources and an effort to frighten off
. On Friday, Justice Department officials revealed that they
had been going through The A.P.’s records for months ... almost 100
people at [the AP]
The Obama administration has indicted 6 current and former officials under the Espionage Act, which had previously been used only 3 times since it was
enacted in 1917."

Obama Political Spying Scandal:Trump Associates Were Not the First Targets
by Andrew C. McCarthy, NationalReview April 18, 2017

“This list includes Dennis Kucinich and investigative journalists. In 2011, Dennis Kucinich was still a Democratic Congressman from Ohio. But he was not
walking in lockstep with President Obama ..
.. there is now overwhelming evidence that the Obama administration monitored
Trump associates and campaign and transition officials. There were,
moreover, leaks of classified information to the media ..

.. Holder’s approval of a warrant targeting the e-mails of Fox News reporter
James Rosen ..

.. Based on examinations by two forensic experts, [reporter] Attkisson and CBS eventually reported that her personal and work computers were “accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions” .. one computer
was infiltrated remotely by the use of “new spy software proprietary to a
federal agency

.. The CIA’s accessing of Senate Intelligence Committee computers and Staff
e-mails — which CIA director John Brennan initially denied, then apologized for
after it was confirmed by an inspector-general report.

Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying
By John Solomon, TheHill - 07/25/17

“The National Security Agency and FBI violated specific civil liberty protections during the Obama administration by improperly searching and disseminating
raw intelligence on Americans
or failing to promptly delete unauthorized
intercepts .. released on July 11 through Freedom of Information Act
litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union.

.. There also were several instances in which Americans’ unmasked names were improperly shared inside the intelligence community without being redacted, a violation of the so-called minimization procedures that Obama loosened in

~How about closer to the subject:
[ Oh, and Clinton really had 'hell to pay' when he sacked his and all.

“On July 19, 1993, Bill Clinton became the 1st President to fire an FBI Director.
William Sessions was dismissed, as Clinton told a reporter that day, for
"lots of reasons." The details were hazy…”


by David Johnston, NYT
WASHINGTON, March 23, 1993—

“But Mr. Stephens left the strong impression that Ms. Reno's actions might disrupt the investigation as he moved toward a decision on whether to seek charges
against the Illinois Democrat, who is chairman of the House Ways and
Means Committee. All 93 United States Attorneys …”

While I envy you your European trip, it might have overloaded you with karma. Being a warmed-over stuffed shirt of a government lawyer, I ain't got a lot of karma. I do have a certain feeling for law, however.

You note, "AG Sessions, by recommending the firing of FBI head Comey, may have given Prez Trump the impression that he could and should fire leaders inside DOJ who were not doing only what Trump wants."

Actually, it was Rosenstein who recommended the firing, although Sessions concurred. Not that it made any difference anyway, since the President said he'd already decided to fire Comey before seeing any memo from anyone.

It's hardly unusual for a person who's spent decades as a tycoon in private business to believe that those he hires should "do what he wants." But the government, which operates by law rather than feeling, doesn't work that way. In addition, since (as neither you nor any reasonable person disputes) Sessions was correct to read the conflicts statute as requiring his recusal, he did the right thing UNDER THE LAW.

The whole reason we should, for example, have judges who operate by law rather than, say, "empathy" or other feelings, is that governance should be predictable and even-tempered in ways not required, or particularly expected, in private life. (This is one more reason we should tilt toward rules rather than discretion in, well, say, SENTENCING -- ahem).

"Ironically, AG Sessions may well survive because there is nobody supporting Trump's desire to fire him."

Not much disagreement there. Even the Dems understand, and quietly admire, that Sessions followed the law.

"Comey was sent packing because Sessions supported Trump's desire to fire him."

100% wrong. See above. Sessions' views, to the extent they were sought at all, had zero impact.

People can reach the right result for the wrong reason. Trump might have fired Comey because he was angry, but the firing was correct on the merits anyway, because Comey, though (in my opinion) a good man, had made a bunch of serious mistakes in his public comments about the Hillary investigation, mistakes that turned out to be the Briar Patch of error in an extremely important and politically charge matter. Many Republicans and quite a few Democrats had lost faith in Comey's judgment, and thought the FBI needed fresh leadership. It was hardly just Trump or Rosenstein.

People can also reach the WRONG result for the wrong reason. I might well feel frustrated in Trump's shoes (I don't know, I've never been a billionaire boss with a government investigation going on a few blocks away). But frustration would be the wrong reason for firing Sessions, since Sessions not only did not err in judgment by recusing himself, he did exactly what the conflicts statute counsels.

Thus, as I said in my entry, Sessions' remaining in place -- which I view as likely -- will in the long run BENEFIT the President, in at least three ways. First, It will show that patience beats impulse as a frame of mind. Second, it will symbolize and continue the restoration of independence at DOJ that had been frayed under Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. (How wonderfully ironic it is that Sessions was trashed during his confirmation fight for "lack of independence"). Third, it will advance the President's substantive justice-related agenda, an agenda for which Sessions was and remains a brilliant pick.

Adamakis--that's realiy no answer to whether the current President is acting in a way that should be cause for concern. I don't quite the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board often, but I think they have it right on this one:

For a week President Trump has waged an unseemly campaign against his own Attorney General, telling the New York Times he wished he’d never hired him, unleashing a tweet storm that has accused Mr. Sessions of being “beleaguered” and “weak.”

Mr. Trump is clearly frustrated that the Russia collusion story is engulfing his own family. But that frustration has now taken a darker turn. This humiliation campaign is clearly aimed at forcing a Sessions resignation. Any Cabinet appointee serves at a President’s pleasure, but the deeply troubling aspect of this exercise is Mr. Trump’s hardly veiled intention: the commencement of a criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton by the Department of Justice and the firing of special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

On Tuesday morning Mr. Trump tweeted that Mr. Sessions “has taken a very weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes. ” This might play well with the red-meat crowd in Mr. Trump’s Twitterverse, but Sen. Lindsey Graham was explicit and correct in describing the legal line Mr. Trump had crossed.

“Prosecutorial decisions should be based on applying facts to the law without hint of political motivation,” Sen. Graham said. “To do otherwise is to run away from the long-standing American tradition of separating the law from politics regardless of party.” Republican Sen. Thom Tillis also came to Mr. Sessions’ defense, citing his “unwavering commitment to the rule of law,” and Sen. Richard Shelby called him “a man of integrity.”

We will put the problem more bluntly. Mr. Trump’s suggestion that his Attorney General prosecute his defeated opponent is the kind of crude political retribution one expects in Erdogan’s Turkey or Duterte’s Philippines.


Decencyevolves: "...[Trump's] lack of respect for the law and basic democratic norms. His affection for authoritarianism..."
Which "basic democratic norm" was offended by Trump?

I provided you context, i.e. Obama's decidedly un-democratic acts,
in order to aid you in characterizing Trump's allegedly authoritarian ones.

Obama's acts apparently neither chafe nor chuff you, so apparently ye
"are all Socialists now", and no longer democrats.

There's been so much crazy since he announced his candidacy that it's hard to remember it all.

Jennifer Rubin has a pretty good compendium:


"During the election and in the days immediately following, many of President Trump’s critics worried whether our democratic institutions would survive and contain Trump. With the significant exception of the GOP majorities in Congress (more about that later), institutions — the courts, a free press, state and local governments (for example, in the context of the Muslim ban and sanctuary-city hysteria) — have held their ground. However, what many of us failed to focus on was the fate of democratic norms — those informal understandings, habits, traditions and the like without which we cannot successfully operate a democracy.

Under Trump, unfortunately, those norms have taken a severe beating. Consider which lines have been crossed:

Politicians do not encourage violence.
The president does not make up conspiracies out of whole cloth to bamboozle the public.
The president does not side with or seek affirmation from hostile foreign powers.
Political figures do not disparage professionals in the military, in the intelligence community or in civilian posts that keep pols honest (e.g., the Congressional Budget Office).
The president does not question the legitimacy of the judicial branch.
Nominees do not lie under oath in their confirmation hearings. And presidents nominate serious, experienced people for high government offices.
The president does not engage in childish name-calling nor bask in the adulation of kings seeking to dazzle him with praise.
The president does not make his family into a monarchical retinue.
The president does not refuse to divest of his worldwide businesses.
The president reveals his finances.
The president does not attack the legitimacy of voting totals.

We could go on, but you get the point. Without the informal understandings that we have come to take for granted, we risk descending into mob rule or a banana republic.


Poiltico had this rundown months ago:


"The indelible takeaway from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was his unrelenting assault on political norms, the countless things he said and did that serious candidates just weren’t supposed to say or do. It was a reality-show circus of OMG, WTF and sometimes LOL, and it was all supposed to be disqualifying: his birtherism and vaccine denialism, his racially charged critique of a Mexican-American judge, his mockery of a disabled reporter and a Gold Star family, his insinuations that Vince Foster and Antonin Scalia were murdered, his refusals to release his tax returns or disavow David Duke, and finally his taped musings about where he likes to grab women. But none of it disqualified him. The norms that White House aspirants can’t make up crime statistics or publicly urge foreign powers to hack their opponents’ emails are now ex-norms. You can’t even say that violating them is unpresidential, because their violator has been the president for almost 100 days.

The indelible takeaway from those first 100 days is that Trump’s assault on political norms has continued. In fact, he has violated Washington norms so casually and constantly that his norm-breaking is becoming normalized. That shattering of protocol and expectations may turn out to be more consequential than any of his massive policy promises or modest policy achievements to date.

Some of Trump’s he-did-what? provocations have been consequential in their own right, like his explosive accusation that President Barack Obama wiretapped him, which he refused to retract even after it was debunked, or his conspiracy theory about 3 million illegal voters, which many see as a prelude to a push to restrict voting rights. He’s flouted democratic norms with banana-republic attacks on journalists, judges, protesters, the Congressional Budget Office and other critics beyond his control. He’s flouted anti-corruption norms by refusing to divest his business empire, spending almost every weekend at his own clubs, and making little apparent effort to avoid conflicts of interest. He’s defied the Washington hypocrisy police with incredibly brazen flip-flops on Syria, Medicaid cuts, China, NATO, Goldman Sachs and the nefariousness of presidential golf. And even though he had no experience in government, he’s shocked Washington by surrounding himself with aides with no experience in government: his son-in-law, his daughter, the former head of a right-wing website and a Goldman executive.

What’s also shocking is what’s no longer shocking, like the president getting his news from "Fox & Friends," or calling the Senate minority leader a “clown,” or obsessively trashing Hillary Clinton months after he beat her, or congratulating Turkey’s leader for rolling back democratic rules, or repeatedly threatening to let the individual health insurance market collapse to score political points, or suggesting his speech to Congress was the best speech ever given to Congress, or appearing to suggest he thinks his “good friend” Luciano Pavarotti and even Frederick Douglass are still alive. Trump’s Twitter feed is a through-the-looking-glass jumble of baseless allegations, over-the-top boasts and all-caps reactions to whatever he just saw on TV. Even more amazing: Trump’s national security adviser was fired after just three weeks in office for lying about his contacts with Russia, and his White House aides apparently helped engineer a charade where the House Intelligence chairman pretended to uncover evidence supporting the president’s impulsive wiretapping tweets. The thing is, whenever there’s amazing news, new amazements soon overshadow it, and the national conversation moves along.

The point is that the unprecedented is becoming commonplace. Imagine how the media would have reacted if Obama had signed a party-line bill to let oil companies hide their payments to foreign governments, or if his spokeswoman had urged Americans to buy products from his daughter. Imagine how Fox News would have reacted if Obama’s White House had released (and defended!) a Holocaust remembrance statement that didn’t mention Jews, or if his wife had decided to live in Manhattan instead of the White House. In the Trump era, it all blends into Trump-being-Trump background noise. We barely notice when he promises to negotiate bilateral trade deals with European countries that are legally prohibited from negotiating bilateral trade deals, or when his administration puts out a press release consisting entirely of administration officials praising him. It wasn’t a big story when Trump’s nominees for Army secretary, Navy secretary and deputy commerce secretary withdrew because they couldn’t unwind their financial conflicts, even though their would-be boss didn’t even try to unwind his. Remember his trash talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings at the National Prayer Breakfast? Did his White House really accuse the British of spying on him, too? The bar for surprise rises every day.

Trump’s critics complain that his constant envelope-pushing distracts from more important news, like the Russia scandal, his failure to deliver on his campaign policy agenda, and his unwillingness to drain the Washington swamp he once railed against. And yes, it’s important to focus on issues that matter. Trump’s “Contract with the American Voter” listed 10 pieces of legislation in his “100-day plan,” and it’s a big deal that he and the Republican-controlled Congress have passed zero of the 10. He keeps saying he’s achieved far more in his first 100 days than any previous president, but other than the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and a tougher approach to undocumented immigrants, he hasn’t implemented many tangible changes to federal policy. It’s just as important to recognize that he’s proposed some radical shifts for the future—lower taxes, less regulation of businesses, a reversal of Obama’s climate and civil rights policies—and installed movement conservatives in positions where they could help make them happen. Presidents also have a lot of power to affect the world, and Trump has already begun talking tough with nuclear North Korea, sending missiles into Syria and dropping mega-bombs on Afghanistan.

Still, the weirdness and norm-breaking of this White House isn’t a distraction from what matters. It matters.

It matters partly because it reflects Trump’s apparent belief, most famously expressed in his observation that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue without losing votes, that he can do whatever he wants without repercussions. It also matters because Trump’s whoppers about everything from his inaugural crowds to media cover-ups of terrorist attacks actually do have repercussions for his credibility, serving notice to the world that he’ll invent his own facts to suit his own narratives. Trump promised to be unpredictable in foreign affairs, and he has kept that promise, but his turn-on-a-dime decisions to bomb Syria and declare NATO no longer obsolete also served notice to the world that nothing America says can be taken for granted. If the Trump administration says a naval carrier is heading toward North Korea, it might be, or maybe not.

This is uncharted territory for America, and that’s the real takeaway from Trump’s first 100 days. In this fifth edition of Politico’s Did-It-Matter-Meter, we’ll try once again to evaluate the immediate impact and potential significance of major Trump-era developments. But honesty compels us to admit that we don’t really know how this Life Comes At You Fast presidency will shake out. Nobody does."

Decencyevolves: Bill. I have one more question for you, since you didn't address my last. Mitt Romney's 2012 top strategist, Stuart Stevens said earlier today "In a stable democracy, government should be boring. It's countries in crisis that have endless stories of tumult & drama in government." Do you agree and are you distressed by what you see in the Trump Administration?

Bill, I do not disagree with the substance of your legal analysis, but you miss the heart of my point (perhaps because you find it displeasing). Sessions gave Trump support and cover for firing a DOJ employee who, to Trump's dismay, was more concerned with doing his job than with Trump's short-term personal interests. Now Sessions is the DOJ employee that Trump seems eager to fire because he remains more concerned with doing his job than with Trump's short-term interests.

For various reasons, I think Trump is smart enough to see how he harms his short term interests by now firing Sessions. But I still think Sessions is likewise smart enough to know that he was catering to Trumpian whims when concurring in the fire Comey recommendation. And the more that responsible people support and cover Trumpian whims, the more such whims are likely to impact the work and future of the US govt.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Prof. Berman, would you defend a Liar & Leaker?

COMEY: "Well, it concerned me because we were at the point where we refused to confirm the existence as we typically do of an investigation for months. And was getting to a place where that looked silly ...
We were getting to a place where the Attorney General and I were both going to testify .. She said yes, 'don't call it that, call it a matter.'

I said "Why would I do that?" She said, 'just call it a matter.' You look back in hindsight, if I looked back and said this isn't a hill worth dying on so I just
said the press is going to completely ignore it. That's what happened
when I said we opened
a matter. ..
"It was inaccurate. We had an investigation open for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we had an investigation open at the time."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ What a "silly", cowardly, deceptive democrat.

Dershowitz: Comey 'Acted Absolutely Improperly' in Memo Leak ..
Loses Credibility


"Bill, I do not disagree with the substance of your legal analysis, but you miss the heart of my point (perhaps because you find it displeasing)."

You're quite a good law professor and debater, but not that good as a psychoanalyst.

"Now Sessions is the DOJ employee that Trump seems eager to fire because he remains more concerned with doing his job than with Trump's short-term interests."

Then Trump could go ahead and fire him. Which he hasn't done, and I'm pretty sure he's not going to do, for the reasons stated in my entry.

"For various reasons, I think Trump is smart enough to see how he harms his short term interests by now firing Sessions."

I don't think you're real good at psychoanalyzing the President, either, which makes two of us.

"But I still think Sessions is likewise smart enough to know that he was catering to Trumpian whims when concurring in the fire Comey recommendation."

But the recommendation was correct on the merits, something you wisely do not dispute. Having been correct on the merits, Sessions was absolutely right in concurring in it. Indeed, to DECLINE to concur in it, knowing it was correct, would have been dishonest.

"And the more that responsible people support and cover Trumpian whims, the more such whims are likely to impact the work and future of the US govt."

If it's Trump's "whim" to attend the funeral of an FBI or DEA agent slain while trying to arrest a narco-terrorist, but critics strongly suspect Trump is playing to the press, should the Attorney General (who supervises the FBI and the DEA) then advise Trump to skip the ceremony?

Here's where you and I seem to differ: I believe that if X is correct on the merits, then do X. You seem to think that if X is correct on the merits, but the President has (what you believe) is a suspect motive for wanting to do X, then he shouldn't do it.

As I hinted in my last answer, this reflects a long-standing divide between our respective views of law. I tend to be objective and text-oriented; you tend to be more subjective and motivation-oriented. Of course, you and I are not the only two lawyers to be on different sides of this divide. I think Gorsuch and Garland, both admirable people, have a similar divide.

Bill, your funeral analogy is poor because the motive Trump had for the Comey firing was at least suspect, and many view it as illegal. And, as you know (and often discuss with pride), criminal law often turn on mens rea, a matter that is "subjective and motivation-oriented." As I have said before, Sessions in this setting acted like a corporate lawyer who sought to give his boss a facially better "objective" rationale for actions that he likely knew were driven by a suspect motive.

I am a textualist, Bill, when there is a text that controls. But what is the "text" on firing a DOJ head? Absent text we have custom, and the custom as I understand it has been generally leaving an FBI head in place keeping DOJ investigations independent. Is there any "text" would can point me to regarding the Comey firing or about whether and how motive matters in this context? And speaking of motive, are you saying it would have been just fine if Prez Trump and Sessions and Rosenstein all thought and stated Comey should be fired because of his Russian inquiries?

Once again, Trump seemingly wants to fire someone for a suspect reason, and this time it is Sessions. But, lucky for Sessions, nobody important is giving Trump an objective rationale for doing so.

And, adamakis, I am not defending Comey here. I am just continuing to make the point that Sessions played a role in helping Trump feel comfortable saying "you're fired" to a top DOJ figure. Now Sessions is the one feeling the heat in the reality show that Trump has brought to the White House. Like Bill, I have predicted Sessions will fare better than did Comey, perhaps it part because the fall out from the Comey firing was not all that Trump sought.

Decencyevolves: The smoking gun that got Nixon to resign under threat of imminent impeachment and conviction by Republican and Democratic Senators was a tape in which he discussed his desire to interfere with the FBI's investigation of the Watergate burglary. Trump has admitted in a nationally broadcast interview that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation and would have done so regardless of the advice he got from Sessions and Rosenstein. To the extent Sessions was aware that he was providing cover for Trump's firing and that it was premised on such illicit motives, that's a problem.

Here's the difference between (1) firing Comey and (2) firing Sessions: (1) was justified on the merits because of Comey's poor judgment, a fact as to which most mainstream commentary agrees; but (2) is not justified on the merits because Sessions' recusing himself was proper if not indeed required.

You can speculate about motive all you care to, and I might agree at least partially with that speculation. But Sessions was acting correctly as an attorney (not just a corporate attorney), and more importantly as a fair-minded, serious and intelligent adult, when he agreed with the view that Comey should be replaced. I reluctantly thought the same thing, and would have given the same answer if asked the same question. Would that make me a shady character?

Since Sessions had that opinion, should he have said he had a DIFFERENT opinion? Would that have been honest?

Those are actual, not rhetorical, questions.

Trump has the power to fire Sessions, without doubt. The question is whether he should use that power, and the answer is no, because Sessions has done nothing wrong (and to the contrary has done a great deal right, and not just his ethics-driven recusal from the Russia investigation).

It is not just a matter that Sessions is "lucky" and Comey wasn't. Comey made big errors in judgment inconsistent with his continuing in his job, good man though he be. Sessions made no error in recusing himself, and, instead, did what was required under the governing statute and regulations.

P.S. You remark to Adamakis that, "Sessions played a role in helping Trump feel comfortable saying 'you're fired' to a top DOJ figure..." That is just completely incorrect. Trump has made a point of noting he ALREADY felt comfortable saying "you're fired" to Comey BEFORE he even saw the memo in which Sessions concurred -- the memo taking the (correct) position that Comey's lack of judgment warranted his removal.

Decencyevolves: The implicit conclusion of all this is though, that the President acted improperly in deciding to fire Comey based on "this Russia thing" and that Trump's view that the Department of Justice and the FBI should do his bidding and protect him personally is antithetical to our system of government. That's bigger news and a bigger deal that whether Sessions was right in giving the President the advice he did.

Decencyevolves: "The implicit conclusion"

Please seek beyond your own distortions for a definition of improper(ly).

Your conclusion is solely made "implicit" by your evolving

Let me know when you reach Homo erectus, or perhaps
Hesperopithecus haroldcookii.

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