Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens to a question on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, as he testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about his role in the firing of James Comey, his Russian contacts during the campaign and his decision to recuse from an investigation into possible ties between Moscow and associates of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Shortly after Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate whatever struck his fancy, President Trump called Attorney General Jeff Sessions to the White House and told him it was time for Sessions to resign. According to a report by ABC News, Sessions tendered his resignation but Trump’s senior advisers prevailed upon him to not accept the proffered letter. This letter was turned over to Mueller by Justice.
Why is this story significant? It is diametrically opposed to what ABC News and the New York Times reported in June. The NYT said that after a heated discussion, Sessions threatened to resign and Trump backed down. Though it has the same general outline the story is significantly different. This is a cautionary tale about the danger one takes when one accepts at face value media reports that are not sourced to a name. Were I guessing, I’d say the first story was leaked by someone close to Sessions because it makes it looks as though Sessions was calling Trump’s bluff. The second story shows just how angry Trump was at Sessions and how he had to be talked off the ledge by advisers.
Secondly, I’m sure this is going to come up as another instance of “obstruction.” How can that be, you ask? How can it be obstruction if Trump didn’t accept the resignation…or even if he did? The same way firing Comey, a guy who was not managing any investigation in the FBI, was obstruction. Because, as all right-thinking people know, it is illegal to fire people who work for you.