Anyone who expected the Attorney General to drop the hammer on Donald Trump was bound to be disappointed. If Trump goes down so does Sessions, and visa-versa, but this wasn’t that day. Despite prevailing opinions, Sessions’ testimony guaranteed him, even more, job security than before because everyone knows that failures to recall are not always permanent.
The Special Counsel, likely, has the Attorney General in his sights. It’s a result of the opinion letter(s) the President asked for to justify the firing of the FBI Director, James Comey. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was the primary author of the opinion, in which Sessions concurred in writing. Making them both fools, if not co-conspirators, Trump advised a TV reporter that the letters were a put up because he’d already decided, almost from the start, to fire Comey on account of Russia.
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In his May 9, 2017 concurrence in Rosenstein’s opinion, Sessions wrote: ”It is essential that this Department of Justice reaffirm its commitment to longstanding principles that ensure the integrity of federal investigations and prosecutions.” This isn’t to say, or imply, Sessions wasn’t telling the truth that he couldn’t recall, however unlikely that may seem to a casual observer. A bad memory cannot be conflated with a lie unless it is - a determination that’s made by finders of fact.
In addition to his memory lapses, Sessions refused to answer questions that touched on conversations he had with the President. He stated, “It would it be premature for me to deny the president a full and intelligent choice about executive privilege.” It’s a prospective application of privilege that Sessions is advocating, one that could defer all examinations regarding conversations with the president unless, and until, Trump decides whether something is privileged, or not, a very convenient, if not self-serving device.
Don Jr., who took meetings with a Russian lawyer and was the subject of a Wikileaks outreach, once, praised prior Sessions testimony with contemporaneous tweets. One read, “Well said AG Sessions: I did not recuse myself from defending my honor from false & scurrilous accusations.” In hindsight, he may wish to take that tweet down.
Trump is still angry with Sessions and said, more than once, he wished Sessions had told him he was going to recuse himself from Russia because he would never have appointed him. The comment indicates there, likely, were “Russia” discussions between Trump and Sessions before Sessions’ appointment. Mueller’s probe will evaluate if there was a conspiracy to obstruct one Russia investigation by firing Comey. It won’t be easy, but nothing about this case has been, so far, except the angst.