A Florida congressman took President Donald Trump’s side Wednesday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” regarding the chief executive’s latest public drubbing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump used his favorite medium — Twitter — to roast Sessions for turning over to the Department of Justice inspector general (IG) questions about the FBI’s conduct while investigating one of the president’s volunteer foreign-policy advisers during the 2016 campaign.
“Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse,” he tweeted. “Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!”
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) told host Laura Ingraham the president is right to critique the IG.
“The IG is just not going to cut it,” he said.
DeSantis echoed Trump’s observation that the IG has no authority to file criminal charges.
“He can’t hold anyone accountable. He’ll take a year-and-a-half to write a report and offer recommendations,” he said. “There’s a time and a place for that. But from what we’ve seen over the last six or seven months — just the scores of people who have been demoted or have had to leave these agencies, a bunch of different potential offenses, ranging from false statements to disclosure of classified information — you need a special counsel who can actually pursue those matters.”
But Fox News contributor Brit Hume, who also appeared on the show, defended Sessions.
“If you’re looking for a quick investigation that won’t take very long, as the congressman suggests he’d like to see, the last thing on earth that you need is another special counsel,” Hume said. “They famously take forever. They build up huge staffs. And they run far afield from their original purpose.”
Hume said Trump expected Sessions to be his “political protector” when he appointed him to the office.
While it's good that AG Sessions is probing FISA abuse, this should be done by a special counsel, not the inspector general. The latter lacks prosecutorial authority and will take forever and a day to reach conclusions. We need action now!
— Ron DeSantis (@RepDeSantis) February 28, 2018
“And as you and I both know, Laura, that is absolutely not what the attorney general is supposed to do … He is not supposed to run the Justice Department, use the Justice Department to run interference, politically or legally, for the president,” he said. “And the president has been disappointed from the jump with Sessions because he thought Sessions would be helping him out in dealing with the Russian matter and so on.”
Hume said, “The president is clearly off-base here, and I think the nation’s been well-served by Jeff Sessions, and we all should hope Sessions stays on the job despite this hazing.”
Addressing the other major political story of the day, Trump’s endorsement of several gun control measures, DeSantis turned the conversation back to the FBI’s failures in the weeks leading up to a February 14 mass shooting at a high school in Florida. He noted that accused shooter Nikolas Cruz had had dozens of encounters with law enforcement authorities.
“So you had all these red flags, and, of course, the FBI was given a specific tip that he was going to commit a school shooting, and yet they were, they fell down on the job,” he said. “That is the number-one issue that comes out of this.”
DeSantis said certain proposals — improving security in schools and addressing deficiencies in the mental health system — enjoy widespread bipartisan support. But he said banning certain classes of semi-automatic guns, the proposal offered by gun control advocates like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and others, is a non-starter.
“When you start going into waters that Dianne Feinstein wants to go down, that is just not gonna — that dog’s not gonna hunt in the Congress,” he said.