In ethical, legal and Constitutional terms, there isn’t really very much legitimate controversy here. The key word here is “legitimate.” “The resistance” is trying its best to spin the issues and confuse the public—yet again. The news media wants to help. They have nothing.
—Attorney General Sessions should have resigned long, long ago. He debased himself by remaining in office. His boss, the President, was publicly abusive, and obviously did not want him to continue in the job.
—I cannot begin to express sufficiently my contempt for the dishonest and absurd argument that Sessions leaving office constitutes an “obstruction of justice” under even the most tortured interpretation of the term. A President can fire and replace his own Cabinet members; this was the issue that technically led to Andrew Johnson’s impeachment. Congress had passed a law (later ruled unconstitutional) that prohibited firing a Cabinet member without Congressional consent. The current theory is even more crack-brained than the claim that Trump firing James Comey, who was incompetent, devious and untrustworthy was obstruction. The “theory,” if you can call it that, is that replacing an AG who had a conflict of interest and had to recuse himself from an investigation is somehow sinister, because the new AG will actually be able to do his job, and supervise a Justice Department investigation.
—The investigation is officially about Russian interference with the 2016 election. Because the Trump campaign and its participants (not the Trump administration: this occurred before the election) might have been implicated or drawn into the investigation, Sessions, who was part of the campaign organization, had to recuse himself as a potential target, witness, or otherwise involved person, both for potential conflicts reasons and to avoid any appearance of impropriety. However, these do not apply to Sessions’ successor, much as Democrats and “the resistance” would want Mueller’s investigation to be completely without supervision by anyone approved by the President.
—There is no reason in the world why the acting AG, Matt Whitaker, should recuse himself from involvement in the Mueller matter. Claims to the contrary are made without grounding in law or ethics.
—Another intellectually dishonest argument is that the President can’t appoint an Acting AG because Sessions was fired. Professor Jonathan Turley neatly disposed of this nonsense here.
Of course Sessions wasn’t fired: he submitted a letter of resignation. That he was asked to resign and would have been fired in he did not is irrelevant. He didn’t have to resign. He could have said, “I won’t resign, you’ll have to fire me.” That’s what Comey did. (That’s what I’ve done, on one occasion.) Unless the people and journalists making that claim have never worked in any organization in their lives, it is one more in a long line of cynical misrepresentations designed to deceive the ignorant and feed social media indignation.
—-The President legally appointed a temporary replacement for Sessions who will then assume all of the powers and responsibilities of the job, including those Sessions could not fulfill, thus eliminating the Mueller investigation oversight from Rod Rosenstein, who only had the responsibility because of Sessions’ recusal. What is there possibly about this to protest? Yet Move-On is organizing a protest, which like so many in the past two years is really just an organized tantrum. The Soros-funded organization wrote in a post,
“Donald Trump just crossed a red line, violating the independence of the investigation pursuing criminal charges in the Trump-Russia scandal and cover-up. Trump putting himself above the law is a threat to our democracy, and we’ve got to get Congress to stop him. We’re mobilizing immediately to demand accountability, because Trump is not above the law.”
Never mind that the “scandal” is entirely a myth, as is the “cover-up.” Sessions resigning, being replaced, and the replacement doing the Attorney General’s job is not “above the law,” but the law.
The threat to democracy is not in the system being followed, but in mobs like Move-On demonizing the orderly due process of the law when it inconveniences their little plots and plans.