In an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, President Donald Trump – as he so often does – made some news: He won’t be firing much-maligned Attorney General Jeff Sessions before the 2018 midterms.
“I just would love to have him do a great job,” Trump told Bloomberg, before pointedly noting that he made no promises about Sessions’ fate post-November 6, 2018.
Which means – in Trump speak – that Sessions will be fired on or about November 7.
Trump likely thinks that by announcing he won’t fire Sessions before the midterm election, he has acceded to the wishes of the bulk of Senate Republicans who a) like Sessions personally (he spent two decades in the Senate prior to serving as AG) and b) don’t want to worry about the complications to the likely confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court that an opening for the attorney general spot would cause.
Remember that less than 48 hours ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered Sessions an unquestioning endorsement in the wake of the latest bit of Trump criticism: “I have total confidence in the attorney general,” said McConnell. “I think he ought to stay exactly where he is.”
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“See, Mitch, you said you wanted him to stay where he was – and he will (until very soon after the election),” you can imagine Trump saying to himself, and maybe even out loud.
And I suppose McConnell will be satisfied – sort of. By postponing the Sessions firing until after the election, it clears the runway for the likely Kavanaugh confirmation.
But make no mistake: Trump isn’t doing Sessions any favors here. He is turning Sessions into a lame duck – an even lamer duck than Sessions already was, given the fact that Trump has spent most of the last year savaging his AG publicly. And that’s a very, very, very lame duck.
The Point: Circle November 7 on your calendar. And don’t be surprised if Sessions is gone on (or around) that day.