One obstacle frequently cited by those who don’t see the urgency of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions is that it would take a long time to get a successor confirmed by the Senate. No doubt the Democrats would make it as difficult and drawn-out a process as possible, but is that reason enough not to fire Sessions?
Judge Jeanine Pirro, in her “opening statement” Saturday night on FOX News, talked about this, noting that Sen. Chuck Grassley has said he could schedule Senate hearings to confirm a new attorney general and also that Sen. Lindsay Graham has predicted Sessions will very likely be replaced. The President has said he wouldn’t fire Sessions before the midterm elections but was noncommittal about afterwards.
But Judge Jeanine went on to talk briefly about something more: the Vacancies Reform Act. This legislation, she said, allows for the appointment of a new attorney general on a temporary basis without Senate confirmation. What she did not say is that the law is extremely complicated, and it hasn’t really been resolved how it would work in a case in which the attorney general has been fired. I’ll have more details about this at the end.
Of course, even without a new attorney general, it doesn’t seem that firing Sessions would make much difference. He’s like the “empty chair” that Clint Eastwood shared the stage with at the Republican National Convention to symbolize the presidency of Barack Obama. Sessions has recused himself from practically everything the Justice Department desperately needs to concern itself with right now. But with this law, or with a fast Senate approval, we might actually get someone in the job who can and will do something.
A statement from Sessions reads, “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” I would think that after saying something like that, Sessions might want to be looking at a very different career: standup comedy.
I was on with Judge Jeanine that night and had to say it breaks my heart to agree that Sessions should go. As I told her, he’s a longtime friend of mine and I really like him. But this whole situation is out of control, and we’ve got to get to the bottom of the corruption, conspiracy, collusion and cover-up that’s been going on in the Justice Department. I don’t know why, but Sessions just doesn’t appear to have the “stomach” to appoint people from the field offices, away from Washington, or perhaps a special counsel, who can do what it takes to get accountability for those who have made a mockery of justice in this country.
As I told Judge Jeanine, Sessions should have been storming up and down the halls of the DOJ and FBI, kicking in doors and turning over desks. (I can’t help it; Jesus with the money-changers comes to mind.) The people who ostensibly worked under him have apparently been involved in a coup against a duly elected President, and it doesn’t get more serious than that. But at this point, Sessions really should just lay in a supply of cardboard boxes to pack up the stuff in his office. It would be best for the country if he turned in his resignation, admitting he can’t be effective in the job. If he needs help with moving, I know a guy.
As promised, here is more than you ever wanted to know about the Vacancies Reform Act. It might be helpful to scroll down to the subhead, “Can the President Designate an Acting Attorney General Under the Vacancies Reform Act?” Answer: it looks that way, but he’d better be prepared for the unending legal challenge and general grief that accompanies everything he tries to do.