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Thread: Trump personally lobbying GOP senators to flip on Sessions

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  1. #1
    MW
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    Trump personally lobbying GOP senators to flip on Sessions



    The president, who has spent a year and a half fulminating against his attorney general in public, finally got traction on Capitol Hill thanks to the growing frustration of a handful of GOP senators with their former colleague, Jeff Sessions. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    CONGRESS

    Trump personally lobbying GOP senators to flip on Sessions

    Opposition to the attorney general's firing, long seen as a red line by lawmakers, has softened in recent days.

    By ELIANA JOHNSON and ELANA SCHOR
    08/29/2018 06:44 PM EDT
    Updated 08/29/2018 07:57 PM EDT


    The willingness of Republican senators to turn on Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the result of a furious lobbying campaign from President Donald Trump, who for the past 10 days has been venting his anger at Sessions to “any senator who will listen,” as one GOP Senate aide put it.

    The president, who has spent a year and a half fulminating against his attorney general in public, finally got traction on Capitol Hill thanks to the growing frustration of a handful of GOP senators with their former colleague – most importantly, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, who have been irritated by Sessions’ opposition to a criminal justice reform bill they support,according to interviews with more than a half-dozen congressional GOP aides, Trump advisers, and Republicans close to the White House.

    Trump raised the prospect of firing Sessions last week in a phone conversation with Graham, according to two Capitol Hill aides, who said that Graham pressed the president to hold off until after the midterm elections. The president has also complained loudly about Sessions to several Republican senators, according to a GOP chief staff.

    Grassley has not gotten a call from the White House, according to a Republican familiar with events.

    Trump hasn’t been pushing his case just with Republican senators: He’s worn down his lawyers, too, according to two Republicans close to the White House. Though they once cautioned him that dismissing Sessions would feed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s potential obstruction of justice, these people say, Trump’s legal team has become increasingly convinced Mueller will make that case regardless of whether the president fires Sessions or leaves him in place.

    “There’s the belief that if the president taking action with respect to Sessions is going to be an important part of the Mueller obstruction case, most of that case has already been made. Things that the president has already done privately that have been reported, but also things that the president has done publicly that could be characterized as bullying or intimidating, all of that case is already there ready to be made, such that firing him is almost like an afterthought,” said one person familiar with the conversations among members of the president’s legal team.

    Spokesmen for Graham and the White House declined to comment. The president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

    But Graham told CBS on Wednesday that the Sessions-Trump relationship has deteriorated with little chance of a detente “anytime soon,” adding that a change at the department would not impede Mueller's investigation. “The bottom line is this relationship is not working. It's not good for the Department of Justice, ”Graham said.

    Seized by paroxysms of anger, Trump has intermittently pushed to fire his attorney general since March 2017, when Sessions announced his recusal from the Russia investigation. If Sessions’ recusal was his original sin, Trump has come to resent him for other reasons, griping to aides and lawmakers that the attorney general doesn’t have the Ivy League pedigree the president prefers, that he can’t stand his Southern accent and that Sessions isn’t a capable defender of the president on television — in part because he “talks like he has marbles in his mouth,” the president has told aides.

    The impetus for Trump’s latest push, according to two White House aides, was the dual convictions last week of his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen and his former campaign manager Paul Manafort — outgrowths of the Russia probe, for which the president pointed the finger at Sessions. Trump fumed on Fox News that Sessions “never took control of the Justice Department” and that “the only reason I gave him the job is because I felt loyalty.”

    Top Senate Republicans see their job, in part, as blocking Trump’s worst moves, several senators said this week. Firing Sessions at this time, or moving against Mueller, fall into those categories.

    Sessions maintains the critical support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who told reporters Tuesday, “I have total confidence in the attorney general; I think he ought to stay exactly where he is.” McConnell’s No. 2, Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), has joined Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) in making public statements of support for Sessions in recent days.

    Over the past week, Trump has belittled Sessions in conversations with several Republican senators, including Graham, and the idea of dismissing him no longer provokes the political anxiety it once did.

    Along with Graham and Grassley, Sessions has also alienated presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, the chief White House proponent of the Graham-Grassley approach on criminal justice reform, as well as his wife, Ivanka Trump.

    After a meeting last week that included Trump, Sessions and Kushner, the White House and McConnell delayed action on the issue until after the midterms. Grassley and other backers of the effort left the meeting hopeful for progress at that point. But Sessions’ office put out a sharply negative statement that suggested the president had come out against any sentencing reform in the legislation.

    Holly Harris, a longtime Kentucky GOP strategist pushing for a reform deal from the helm of the nonprofit Justice Action Network, blasted Sessions for an “absolute mischaracterization” of the White Houses stance on the issue.

    “DOJ is making so many enemies in so many places now that I actually think it’s going to help our legislation. I think they’ve gone way too far,” Harris said, describing Sessions’ actions on the issue as “off the rails.”

    The criminal justice issue has been an ongoing sore point between Sessions and Grassley. The House passed a narrower bill in May that doesn’t include changes to sentencing requirements — something Sessions strongly opposes but that Grassley and others, including Graham, have insisted on adding.

    When Sessions spoke out against a broader criminal justice bill that the Judiciary Committee passed in February, Grassley publicly dressed him down. “Look at how hard it was for me to get him through committee in the United States Senate,” the senator said then. “And look at, when the president was going to fire him, I went to his defense.”

    No longer. Though Grassley had previously said he could not schedule hearing time to confirm a new attorney general, he changed his tune last week. “I do have time for hearings on nominees that the president might send up here that I didn’t have last year,” Grassley said last week.

    Inside the White House, the president’s lawyers have changed their tune, too. They once warned Trump that firing Sessions would help Mueller build an obstruction of justice case, particularly because the president had fulminated in both public and private about his recusal from the Russia probe.

    They have come to believe, however, that if Mueller wants to build an obstruction case around Sessions, he has the fodder he needs in the form of a January 2018 New York Times report indicating that the president instructed White House counsel Don McGahn to prevent Sessions from recusing himself — and that Trump aides have talked with Mueller about the episode.

    The drumbeat of presidential tweets denigrating Sessions as “weak” and calling on him to “stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now” have also shaped the view among the president’s legal team. They have come to believe that if Mueller wants to build a case that the president has intimidated his attorney general, he can do so given the voluminous public record created by the president — and that firing Sessions won’t change much.

    It’s unclear that the Senate would be able to confirm a replacement for Sessions should he leave his post this fall, given a packed legislative schedule that includes a must-pass government funding package this month and the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But following the November elections, when Republicans are poised to potentially pick up seats thanks to a uniquely favorable Senate map, confirming a new attorney general may prove an easier task.

    Even the Republican senators who have risen to Sessions’ defense have appeared to have put a time limit on their support. The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that five GOP lawmakers, including Cornyn and Sasse, had breakfast with Sessions last Thursday and urged him to stay in the job — at least through the midterm elections.

    Sasse, a member of the Judiciary Committee, was the attorney general’s most vocal advocate. In a speech on the Senate floor, he warned the president: “It would be a very, very, very bad idea to fire the attorney general because he’s not executing his job as a political hack.”

    John Bresnahan contributed to this report.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/...e-house-803922

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  2. #2
    MW
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    President Trump's maneuvering to get rid of the best friend we have in Washington on the immigration issue is really ticking me off!

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Put Sessions in some other capacity...to go after illegal aliens 24/7

    Go through every Visa, Work Visa, TPS, Asylum and Refugee program, go over every DACA application, defund these programs and gut them! Get them out of our budget!

    Go after Visa Overstays, update our systems, get facial recognition up and running 100%

    Go after TPS and start setting a weekly quota to send notices and they need to sell out, pack up and go home BEFORE their expiration date! Any caught here after that date will NEVER be able to come back.

    We need a pit bull to focus 100% on this visa and immigration problem we have.

    Trump and Sessions are not working well together. We have 2 more years of Trump. Get Trey Gowdy in there.

    Put Jeff Sessions in his highest and best use...that is immigration!!! We want to keep him and we need him to do this.
    Last edited by Beezer; 08-30-2018 at 06:49 AM.
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    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

  4. #4
    MW
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    Beezer wrote (excerpt):

    Trump and Sessions are not working well together. We have 2 more years of Trump. Get Trey Gowdy in there.
    Personally, I like Sessions right where he's at. However, assuming your thought on this was even a possibility, do you think for one minute Gowdy would even consider such a job after the way Trump has treated Sessions? Honestly, I don't think there is anyway in heck Gowdy would even give it a second thought.

    Trump's constant attack on Sessions had made it impossible to get someone in that position that we would support on immigration (IMO).
    Last edited by MW; 08-30-2018 at 07:25 AM.

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    Trump allying with that open-borders Amnesty snake Senator Lindsey Graham against the honerable Jeff Sessions is a huge mistake.

    Mark my words, if he keep moving against Sessions it will mark the begining of the end for Trump.
    stoptheinvaders, Beezer and MW like this.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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