March 3, 2017


How Rank-and-File Republicans Overruled Trump on Sessions Recusal (John T. Bennett, 3/03/17, The Hill)

What made Sessions' recusal remarkable was that Trump, whom a top aide once said "will not be questioned," was overruled by mostly rank-and-file Republicans.

The White House was set to weather the storm created when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that it would be "easier" if Sessions recused himself. But, in what became a pattern among GOP leaders, he told "Fox & Friends" he was "not calling on him to recuse himself."

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., gave Sessions cover when he told reporters that if the attorney general was not the subject of an ongoing probe, "I don't see any purpose or reason to doing this."

But other members stirred.  At 8:14 a.m. Thursday, Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, tweeted that Sessions "should clarify his testimony and recuse himself." [...]

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, said in a statement that Sessions "is a former colleague and a friend, but I think it would be best for him and for the country to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia probe."

He wasn't out on a limb.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C, told reporters that if the Justice Department is looking into Trump campaign contacts with Russia -- which it has not confirmed -- his former Senate colleague should not be involved.

"You've got an attorney general who is my dear friend, who was closely involved with the presidential campaign," Graham said. "If there's credibility to the allegations of inappropriate contacts between a foreign government and the campaign, in my view, for the good of the integrity of the system, somebody should pursue that. Not Jeff Sessions. "You don't want somebody involved in the campaign deciding whether or not there's a crime in the campaign," the former Air Force lawyer said.

Florida Republican Rep. Brian Mast ramped up the pressure when he became one of the few GOP members to use the other "r-word."

"Jeff Sessions needs to immediately clarify his Senate testimony and recuse himself from any investigation into Russian ties," Mast said. "If he cannot commit to ensuring this process is completed with full transparency and integrity, he should resign."

Then there was the nudge from Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa.

"When we spoke earlier this afternoon, between votes on the Senate floor, I suggested, as I did with Attorney General Lynch after she met with President [Bill] Clinton on her airplane, that his recusal may be the best course of action," Grassley said in a Thursday afternoon statement. "He indicated that he had been consulting with the professionals at the department, and that he agreed."

...we'd rather be governed by the Congress than by Donald.

Posted by at March 3, 2017 3:40 PM