Finley: Trump/Sessions feud undermines White House
I have to admit I laughed when I heard President Donald Trump refer to Attorney General Jeff Sessions as Mr. Magoo.
It’s funny — had a smart alecky comedian like Jimmy Kimmel said it. Sessions does bring to mind the nearly blind animated character who amused children of my generation by bumbling into a variety of misadventures.
But coming from the president of the United States and aimed at his own attorney general? The humor fades quickly.
Sessions is not an Obama administration holdover or someone who was forced on Trump. He is the president’s hand-picked guy, a conservative Republican who rose from the same far right movement that elevated Trump.
But the president clearly regrets the appointment, and doesn’t quite know what to do about Sessions. Firing him isn’t a viable option, because it would be viewed as an attempt to derail the investigation into the Trump campaigns involvement with Russian operatives.
So he’s trying to bully him out.
After Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, a move that led to the naming of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, Trump publicly described him as “beleaguered” and privately called him an idiot.
The president has taken repeatedly to twitter to jab Sessions for not investigating the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Now he’s mad at the attorney general for not digging deeper into how the Justice Department obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court warrant to snoop on his campaign staff.
Sessions gives no appearance of stepping down, publicly pushing back against the president’s attacks. And while I find Sessions detestable for the 1950s puritanism he’s brought to the department’s priorities, I’d rather have him running the Justice Department than Trump doing it from the Oval Office.
A president ought to be projecting an image of stability. When he’s taunting a key member of his own administration with junior high-caliber insults, it creates doubt about whether anyone’s really in charge in the White House.
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