'I don't have an Attorney General,' Trump said in his harshest attack yet on Jeff Sessions.
Trump has been attacking his own attorney general for over a year. But he launched perhaps his most gutting attack to date in a new interview, brutally mocking Jeff Sessions' confirmation testimony and claiming that "a lot of people" have advised him to fire Sessions.
In a multi-part interview with reporters from The Hill published Wednesday, Trump said, “I don’t have an Attorney General." He complained about Sessions' performance on "numerous things" — even including "the border."
Trump mocked Sessions' performance at his confirmation hearing, saying "he was mixed up and confused." But Trump quickly returned to criticizing Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
"We’ll see what happens," Trump replied when asked if he will fire Sessions. "A lot of people have asked me to do that."
Trump has a habit of claiming that "a lot of people" are saying something when there's no evidence for that. Usually it's a way to either distance himself from a controversial statement, or to make it sound like something only he wants is actually something many people want. And firing Sessions would likely be both controversial and unpopular.
Trump was also asked by reporters about firing Sessions Wednesday morning on the South Lawn of the White House. "We are looking at lots of different things," Trump said.
Sessions has been an odious presence at the Department of Justice since assuming the post, but not for the reasons Trump cites.
Sessions has overseen cruel and racist policies like the separation of children from their parents at the border, Trump's Muslim ban, suppressing minority votes, and denying asylum to victims of domestic violence.
And of course, this is the offense that most bothers Trump.
Trump has openly stated that he never would have appointed Sessions if he had known Sessions would recuse himself. Earlier this year, it was reported that Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to convince Sessions not to recuse himself. And last June, Trump ordered then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to secure Sessions' resignation.
Trump has also publicly attacked Sessions for his failure to politicize the Justice Department.
A few weeks ago, Trump attacked Sessions over the indictments of Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter — Collins on charges of insider trading, and Hunter for using campaign money to fund personal expenses like family vacations.
Sessions shouldn't be investigating corrupt Republicans, Trump argued, because it might hurt the GOP's chances in the midterm elections.
“Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff,” Trump wrote.
And Trump has explicitly called for the attorney general to protect him from the Mueller investigation.
In August, Trump wrote, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now." But what Trump calls a "Witch Hunt" is an investigation that has resulted in numerous indictments and guilty pleas from Trump associates.
Trump has thus far stopped short of firing Sessions, but Republican senators like Lindsey Graham and others have recently given Trump the green light to do just that. Graham has said Trump is "entitled to an attorney general he has faith in," and that Trump would "very likely" fire Sessions after the midterms.
Unfortunately for Trump, Sessions' next in line, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, doesn't seem inclined to protect Trump from the Russia investigation either. And after the midterms, Trump may find it impossible to confirm a replacement for Sessions who would do what he wants.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.