Not long ago, as all will recall, President Trump was badmouthing his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.
Many rallied to warn off the President from firing Sessions. This included Democrats, because Trump’s complaint was about the one good thing Sessions had done — recusing himself — and especially because it was clear that the firing of Sessions would be Trump’s means to the end of firing Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Even the Republican-controlled Senate has taken steps to block Trump from making a recess appointment, which would have enabled him to by-pass Senate confirmation in getting Trump an AG loyal to Trump rather than the rule of law, and willing to obstruct justice on his behalf.
Even though, on one policy after another, Sessions is an atrocious Attorney General, it has rightly been considered more important to prevent Trump from killing Mueller’s investigation than to replace Sessions with someone who might be less retrograde and punitive on such policy matters as immigration, the “war on drugs,” racial discrimination, and so forth.
But is there a chance that, soon, it will be possible to get rid of Sessions without endangering the Mueller investigation?
Point one: Mueller may soon be protected in a way that in no way depends on Sessions remaining in place (recused and thus in no position to fire Mueller). Two separate measures have been introduced in the Senate, each sponsored by a Republican and a Democrat, to provide protection for Mueller.
It is unclear what the prospects are for these measures, but if either of these were to be enacted, keeping the recused Sessions would no longer be relevant to safeguarding the investigation.
Point two: the basis for impeaching Sessions has long been established.
He lied to the Senate, under oath, during his confirmation process, where he falsely denied meeting with the Russians. There was a furor over that at the time, when TWO such meetings surfaced. Since then, a THIRD meeting of Sessions with the Russian ambassador has been established. This was a meeting that Sessions failed to mention in his own supplemental written testimony– a document denounced as unsatisfactory even in other ways.
So there is a solid basis for impeaching Sessions, whose perjury is particularly unsuitable for the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
Whether the Republican-controlled Congress would impeach Sessions is, of course, another matter. The Republican Senators who rose up to defend Sessions against Trump were not only defending Mueller’s investigation but also, it seems, defending a former colleague for whom they have some kind of personal regard.
At present, it is not easy to see how they would impeach Sessions over this well-established perjury.
But elections are coming up in 2018. The Russian collusion picture will doubtless get filled in over the months to come. And Sessions will be a good target for Democrats, and might become a serious liability for the Republicans.
So the bottom line is this: the day may soon be at hand where Mueller is well protected against further Trumpian obstruction of justice, and there will be no reason for the Democrats to hold their fire against a truly atrocious Attorney General who has committed perjury on national TV.
If/when that day comes, the Democrats should be ready to attack.