Republican attorney John Jordan warned Wednesday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” that Jeff Sessions may be “a small man in a big moment of history” after President Donald Trump once again tweeted criticism of his attorney general’s performance leading the Department of Justice.
“Nobody is disputing that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a good man,” Jordan told host Laura Ingraham. “But history may well prove that in this moment, where the rule of law is at stake and the Justice Department’s ability to apply it evenhandedly is in question, that he may in fact be a small man in a big moment of history, however good of a man he may be.”
Jordan’s comment followed Trump’s tweet Wednesday asking, “Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation? Why didn’t Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren’t Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Sessions!”
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The exchange was occasioned by special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians last week in connection with allegations they interfered with the 2016 presidential election.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein emphasized in a statement on the indictments that “there is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity” of swaying the election in Trump’s favor.
Mueller noted that the Russians’ efforts were documented as far back as 2014. Trump didn’t announce his candidacy until June 2015.
The president’s tweet spurred speculation about Sessions’ shaky standing with the chief executive. Although Sessions was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump’s 2016 presidential candidacy, their relationship became rocky after Sessions recused himself from the probe now being led by Mueller.
Cameron Smith, general counsel and vice president of implementation for the R Street Institute, served as counsel to Sessions when he served on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Smith told Ingraham that Trump’s Wednesday tweet and similar attacks on Sessions are “eroding support for the Department of Justice.”
“We need the president to restore our confidence,” Smith said. “We want a Department of Justice that enforces the law. But when he keeps doing this, it undermines our confidence there. If he doesn’t have confidence in Jeff Sessions to do the job, to root out any corruption in the Department of Justice, he should fire him.”
When Ingraham asked Smith if he believed Trump would fire Sessions, he replied, “I don’t think he will,” adding, “If we look back to the campaign, he needed Jeff Sessions.”
“Do we have confidence in the attorney general or not? This is the question. If you don’t have confidence in the attorney general to manage the Department of Justice, you need to find someone who will do it,” Smith said.
“He’s a prosecutor. He wants to enforce the law. That’s what he wants to do as attorney general,” Smith added. “I think that he is making decisions that are based on the law. He’s looking at the facts, he’s looking at the law, he’s applying it and saying, ‘Do we prosecute or not?’ Sometimes that isn’t the political answer you want. It might be the right legal one.”
Jordan, however, argued that drastic actions may need to be taken to “restore confidence” in the Justice Department and the FBI, including setting up other special counsels to conduct investigations.
“The [Office of the Inspector General] of the Justice Department doing investigations — that’s the swamp thing guarding the swamp thing,” he said. “That’s too weak a broth for what’s really required to restore confidence.”