Washington (CNN) On November 2, in a radio interview, President Donald Trump said this : “The saddest thing is that because I’m the President of america, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI.”
The following morning — beginning at 6:57 a.m. — he started a tweetstorm on the same topic. “Everybody is requesting why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking at all the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems,” he wrote
He followed that tweet up with five more, including this one : “People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what’s right and right. The American open public deserves it!”
Then he left for a 12-day trip to Asia — a vacation he returns from Wednesday.
On the eve of this come back came news out of the Justice Department that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering the possibility of appointing a special counsel to consider allegations of wrongdoing regarding the 2010 sales of a uranium company to Russia — which Hillary Clinton’s STATE DEPT. approved.
In a letter delivered to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd confirmed that Sessions had directed prosecutors to analyze whether “any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further means, or whether any merit the appointment of a special counsel.”
Here’s finished .: This could all merely be a huge coincidence. Sessions might well have decided to check out the possibility of a special counsel for the Uranium One sales prior to Trump’s tweets and open public frustration with the Justice Department’s refusal to check out the “real” issues from the 2016 marketing campaign. And, phrase of the factor of a special counsel might have coincidentally leaked on your day before Trump is defined to return to Washington.
But, it’s odd — to say the least — that Sessions decided that today was enough time to check out the Clinton allegations. In the end, Goodlatte wrote two letters to the Justice Department — one on July 27, the different on September 26 — asking for the appointment of a special counsel to examine the uranium package and other “concerns that seem to be beyond your scope of exceptional counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.”
The apparent answer for the question of “why now” is that Trump — through Twitter and his public statements — sufficiently ramped up the pressure on Sessions to start doing what he wants done.
Context matters here. Sessions features been fighting for his work because the day — in the past in early on March — that he recused himself from the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s attempted interference in the 2016 marketing campaign and any potential collusion with the Trump marketing campaign. That decision ultimately led to the appointment by deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of Mueller as exceptional counsel overseeing the investigation.
Trump has referred to Sessions due to “beleaguered” on Twitter. Trump has made very clear that he is angry at Sessions over the recusal decision — and lays a lot of the blame for the ongoing Russia investigation immediately at the legal professional general’s feet. He told The New York Instances that had Sessions educated him of his planned recusal, Trump could have picked someone else as his legal professional general
In a nutshell, the President has gone way out of his way to create clear to Sessions that he’s performing a bad job. Also to suggest (and recommend again) that Sessions and the Department of Justice should use a lot more time looking at allegations about the Obama administration uranium package and Clinton’s personal email server.
Which is what Sessions is now at least considering doing.
But, delay, you say. Trump is Sessions’ boss! Why can’t he simply tell him what to do?!
Because the Justice Department is — and long has been — seen as an independent operator within the federal government. And, once and for all reason. The job of DOJ is to investigate and prosecute crimes and potential crimes without fear or favor. Possibly the looks of White Residence involvement in how Justice does its job sometimes appears as a major breach of protocol. ( This LA Instances explainer on why the Justice Department’s independence concerns so much will probably be worth reading.)
The timing of Sessions’ decision has to raise questions about Justice’s vaunted independence from the executive branch. Of training course, no special counsel provides been appointed. Yet.
But, if Sessions does decide to go that path, he’ll take a large amount of flack from inside and outside the department for this.