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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Daily Combover - June 6, 2017

Nearly seven months ago Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by a few thousand votes in three Midwestern states and was on his way to replace President Barack Obama in the White House. A week later he began making noise with his cabinet picks.  One of his first nominations was Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to become the next Attorney General.  Sessions was confirmed in early February by a largely party-line vote 52-47.  He abstained from voting for himself so Joe Manchin (D?-WV) gave him his 52nd vote.

Trump and his House Elf
Since then it's been a very bumpy ride. We learned that Sessions had lied on his security clearance application, hiding several meetings with Russian diplomats and spies. This led him to recuse himself from the on-going #TrumpRussia investigation in early March, just a month after his confirmation. Predictably, Trump was angry that his team faced ethics questions. And Trump didn't waste any time castigating Sessions' replacement, Rod Rosenstein. It got to the point of Rosenstein first threatening to resign and then in an act of utter defiance, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller to be a special counsel tasked to lead the investigation in his stead.

Presumably Trump became even angrier and began lashing out against Sessions. It even got to the point of Sessions offering his own resignation:
If you're wondering why this is coming out now, as Vanity Fair points out, the timing had to do with Trump's Tweet-storm about the Travel Ban:

He's been in the White House for almost half a year and he still doesn't realize that throwing agencies under the bus does not aid his cause. It's reached the point where even his closest backers want nothing to do with him:
Trump’s public criticism of Sessions was enough to prompt a rebuke from White House adviser Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George Conway, who recently took himself out of the running for a top D.O.J. role. The president’s tweets, he said, would only hurt his chances of successfully defending his travel ban before the Supreme Court—and that “every sensible lawyer” in the White House Counsel’s Office and “every political appointee” at the Justice Department would agree. Trump’s tweets were, others agreed, a remarkably self-destructive move with no obvious strategy behind them, besides riling up his base. “They wholly undercut the idea that there is some rational process behind the president’s decisions,” former solicitor general Walter E. Dellinger told the Times. “I believe it is unprecedented for a president to publicly chastise his own Justice Department.”
Trump may not fully understand the implications of lashing out at his own Justice Department on Twitter, or that his public statements will almost certainly be used as evidence against him and the travel ban before a court. In its initial decision blocking the ban, the Ninth Circuit cited Trump’s own tweets, and the statements of his advisers, as evidence that that the administration’s ban on immigration from several Muslim-majority countries relied on an unconstitutional religious test. Neal Katyal, the attorney representing the state of Hawaii’s challenge to the ban, tweeted that ”Its kinda odd to have the defendant in HawaiivTrump acting as our co-counsel. We don't need the help but will take it! [sic]”
For law professor and occasional Trump apologist Alan Dershowitz, however, Trump is simply acting like any angry client who wants better results from his legal team. “What he’s saying is, ‘I’m the president, I’m the tough guy, I wanted a very tough travel ban and the damn lawyers are weakening it’—and clients complain about lawyers all the time,” he told the Times. “I see this more as a client complaining about his lawyer. The lawyer in this case happens to be Jeff Sessions.”
Personally, I wish we lived in the days where you could challenge a person to a duel. That would be a fun Pay-Per-View event.

Yes Zell Miller, those really were the days.

Catch you on the flip side.

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