White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci says President may sack A-G
U.S. President Donald Trump publicly targeted Jeff Sessions, his hand-picked Attorney General, on Tuesday for the second time in two days in a clear signal that the latter’s days in the office are numbered.
Mr. Trump is unhappy with Mr. Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election.
Mr. Trump’s tirade against his own official comes against the backdrop of multiple probes into the Russian interference tagging his family members and former advisers for interactions with Russian interlocutors. The President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, appeared before a Congressional committee on Tuesday to explain his contacts with Russian nationals.
Meanwhile, the chaos in the administration is spreading as Mr. Trump is reportedly unhappy with National Security Adviser (NSA) H.R. McMaster, who is apparently struggling to fit his strategic plans with the former’s worldview. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned last week.
Targets of President’s ire
Mr. Sessions, Hillary Clinton, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) acting director Andrew McCabe and the European Union were the targets of the President’s Twitter ire on Tuesday morning.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” he said in one post. “Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!” he said in another.
“Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign – “quietly working to boost Clinton.” So where is the investigation A.G.,” tweeted the President.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham termed the President’s remarks inappropriate. In a statement, Mr. Graham said: “President Trump’s tweet today suggesting Attorney General Sessions pursue prosecution of a former political rival is highly inappropriate… Prosecutorial decisions should be based on applying facts to the law without hint of political motivation… to do otherwise is to run away from the long-standing American tradition of separating the law from politics regardless of party.”
On Monday, Mr. Trump had described Mr. Sessions as the “beleaguered” A-G. White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci told a TV show on Tuesday morning that the President could sack the A-G. “I do know the President very well, and if there’s this level of tension in the relationship, that that’s public, then you’re probably right,” he told the interviewer on speculation that the President is preparing the ground for the A-G’s dismissal.
In an interview to The New York Times last week, Mr. Trump had said he would not have appointed Mr. Sessions had he known he would recuse himself from the Russia probe.
Mr. Trump had questioned Mr. McCabe’s integrity during last year’s campaign too.
Mr. McCabe’s wife Dr. Jill McCabe is a former Democratic State senate candidate in Virginia. She had received campaign contributions of nearly $500,000 from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee. Mr. McAuliffe is a friend of the Clintons.
The reference to Ukrainian efforts in Mr. Trump’s tweet is about a January report in the Politico website that said a Ukrainian-American consultant who worked for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) collected information from the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, D.C., on links between Mr. Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort and the Russian government.
Over the last few days, Mr. Trump has drawn a battle line with his own Republican Party by accusing it of not defending him in the face of mounting pressure from the Russia probe.