Republican lawmakers rally around Sessions as Trump intensifies pressure

Republican lawmakers rally around Sessions as Trump intensifies pressure

But deep down, Trump is a people-pleaser, his former employees and friends say, someone who abhors direct confrontation and would rather be well-liked by all, even if that means giving his aides power to ax people. But constitutional scholars warn that Congress could have a tough time trying to veto Trump's action.

"I support President (Donald) Trump's policies, but this public waterboarding of one of the greatest people Alabama has ever produced is inappropriate and insulting to the people of Alabama who know Jeff Sessions so well and elected him so often by overwhelming margins", Brooks, R-Huntsville, said today in a written statement in response to Trump's recent criticism of Sessions, who was an early and active supporter of Trump's campaign a year ago.

The Trump-Sessions tension gained steam July 19 when the president told the New York Times that he was disappointed that Sessions had recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation, leaving the power to appoint a special counsel to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Despite Trump labeling the investigation as a "witch hunt", Mueller remains highly respected in Congress. Dianne Feinstein, Calif., the ranking Democrat of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, "What's happening is just bad".

Meanwhile, Sessions set off Thursday for El Salvador to meet with law enforcement officials about strategies for combating the MS-13 gang.

Graham is working on legislation that would block the firing of special counsels without judicial review.

Graham's warning partly echoed Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wondered "How we can stop the president from firing the people he appointed I don't know".

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said today that President Trump has "been very clear" about his feelings toward Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Many Republican lawmakers, however, have come out in support of the attorney general. If Loretta Lynch compromised her integrity by meeting secretly with Bill Clinton while investigating his wife, which she certainly did, Sessions could hardly run an investigation of a campaign that would delve into his own activities.

The Washington Post compared it in an editorial to something one would see in a "banana republic", while The Wall Street Journal said Trump is "crossing unsafe legal and political lines".

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While politically hard, constitutional law experts consider the House plan more likely than the Senate proposal to prevail in court.

"Sessions is a very loyal man to the president".

Trump's reluctance to act on his anger and fire Sessions may be based in part on the lack of an immediate plan for a successor at the Justice Department. Maybe not as far-fetched as you might think. "It would raise constitutional questions".

She laughed and said: "Absolutely he would be elected".

"If Congress rehired Mueller, he would be investigating for the goal of determining whether impeachment was proper", she said. "It's also, as NPR's Carrie Johnson points out, an opportunity for the attorney general to "[put] some distance between himself and the toxic environment in Washington. Trump has frequently expressed his displeasure with the investigation, which reportedly is now looking into Trump business and family finances.

"The idea that the president would fire Mueller or have somebody fire Mueller because he doesn't like Mueller or Mueller is doing something he doesn't like, then we have become Russia", Graham said.

Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., said Brooks' offer "is what a candidate does when he learns he's plummeted to a distant third (in the polls) and is desperate to get attention". He forced the Justice Department's hand in hiring a special counsel.

"We'd need to pass a proclamation explaining the extent of the weakness of this body", he said.

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