Jeff Sessions
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Things seem to be moving fast on the Jeff Sessions front.

That’s sounds to me like Trump is about to fire his Attorney General, but maybe it’s just a head-fake.

It could be that Trump just wants to tear the legs and wings off Sessions and watch him writhe around in pain, but there may also be a legal and political strategy involved, however misguided. If Sessions were to resign voluntarily, it would be hard to pin on Trump as more evidence of obstruction of justice. If he were to leave of his own volition, Trump would also have an easier time getting his replacement through the confirmation process in the Senate.

So, it could be that Trump is torturing Sessions for the pure sadistic pleasure it brings him, but there’s another possibility.

Finally, it could also be that Trump has now run out of patience and will just go ahead and can Sessions since the Attorney General clearly can’t take a hint.

If this is all part of an effort to kill the Russia investigation, it won’t be smooth. Sessions has many friends in the Senate, and the Senate will insist that any replacement agree not to fire Mueller without cause. My suspicion is that Trump has another plan that will involve utilizing an interim replacement to fire Mueller, but that won’t be easy, either. I’m not clear on all the rules and norms of what happens when an Attorney General resigns, so I can’t game this all out at the moment. It looks like I have homework to do.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at