Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ days could be numbered at the Justice Department—or not! Who knows? That’s the kind of real life government cliffhanger we’ve come to expect from the presidency of Donald Trump. Calamity or competence… find out next! According to the Washington Post, the president has discussed potential replacements for Sessions with his top advisers, who are actively floating names of replacements. Trump, of course, promo-ed his anger with his attorney general for recusing himself from the Russia investigation during an interview with the New York Times last week, telling the Times that he wouldn’t have picked the former Alabama senator and early Trump supporter if he’d known he’d step aside and that Sessions’ recusal was “extremely unfair” to him.
“President Trump and his advisers are privately discussing the possibility of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and some confidants are floating prospects who could take his place were he to resign or be fired, according to people familiar with the talks,” the Post reports. “Members of Trump’s circle, including White House officials, have increasingly raised the question among themselves in recent days as the president has continued to vent his frustration with the attorney general, the people said.”
It hasn’t been a good run of late for Sessions. Trump was reportedly angered by his recusal long before he let his simmering hostility show through the cracks in his totally chill orange veneer. Sessions has said he won’t resign, but the president appears to have gotten himself pretty worked up and even referred to Sessions as “our beleaguered A.G.” in a tweet Monday morning.
And then there are the little slights—like devout Catholic Sean Spicer not getting to meet the Pope during the president’s trip to the Vatican earlier this year—that Trump appears to delight in.
Two names that have been floated as possible successors, aides tell the Post, are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Giuliani, who downplayed the rumors, might be tough to confirm given the nature of his business dealings after diving into the private sector. As for Sen. Cruz, it seems like a pretty magnanimous move for a not-too-magnanimous president to pick his chief rival from the campaign, who refused to explicitly endorse him during the RNC, and against whom Trump leveled withering, often fictitious personal attacks throughout the Republican nomination contest.
Another option, the Post points out, would be some sort of recess appointment that could be easier to pull off, but certainly nuclear in its reaction. Especially if the new attorney general, unconfirmed by the Senate, was appointed by Trump to fire Robert Mueller, as one possible White House strategy outlines. It’s hard to overstate how big a deal it would be if the president of the United States attempted to do that and its hard to conceive of the scale of the political reaction.
Any way you look at it, the attorney general is in the Trump doghouse. Will that spell the end for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III?
Find out after this commercial break!