This is not a good week for Jeff Sessions.
While Donald Trump and James Comey play a he-said/he-said game, the week’s biggest loser has to be the Attorney General. In a closed door session, Comey reportedly revealed that Sessions had had a third undisclosed meeting with Russian officials. The former FBI Director indicated that Sessions’ compromising position vis-a-vis the Russia investigation was one of the reasons he had not confided in the Attorney General after his uncomfortable meetings with the President.
Now Sessions is in hot water. Reports have already been swirling that Trump is deeply angry with him, in part because of his recusal on Russia-related matters and in party because Sessions not only has been unable to relieve the cloud of controversy over the issue, but has actively made it worse.
Now comes news that Sessions is backing out of his public testimony before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Instead, anticipating a blizzard of questions about his Russia involvement, he’ll be testifying at a Senate Intelligence Committee:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had agreed to testify this week before the Senate and House appropriations committees about the Justice Department budget, wrote the chairmen of the committees Saturday and said he was sending his deputy to testify instead.
Sessions was scheduled to testify before Congress on Tuesday for the first time since he was confirmed as attorney general in February. In light of former FBI director James B. Comey’s testimony last week, Sessions was expected to get many questions from lawmakers about his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 election campaign.
This can’t get much worse for the White House and the Attorney General’s office without moving into resignation territory. Sessions’ ability to do his job has been effectively neutralized as scandal surrounds his every action. Sessions reportedly offered his resignation to Trump, who refused it. That’s possibly because Trump would find it challenging to find a replacement.
But at this point, it would be difficult for Trump to do any worse. Sessions has become more of a liability than an asset.