My last post described the increasing opposition on the part of Trump supporters and legislators to Jeff Sessions earlier this year.
On April 9, President Trump publicly stated that Sessions’s recusal was:
a very terrible mistake for the country.
Trump went on to say that, had he known about that, he would have chosen someone else for the Attorney General (AG) position.
On April 11, there was a last gasp of hope that Sessions might be building up to something big. A talented young man by the name of Ezra Cohen-Watnick, whom HR McMaster had fired, was back in the Trump administration, assigned to the Department of Justice. Breitbart reported:
Former Trump White House official Ezra Cohen-Watnick is joining the Department of Justice as a national security adviser to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a source confirmed on Wednesday.
His first day will be Monday, according to a source familiar with his appointment.
“Just like at the NSC, I expect Ezra to prioritize strengthening the United States’ posture against Russia, China and Iran as one of his top priorities,” the source said …
Cohen-Watnick’s appointment comes only days after the departure of McMaster, but had been discussed for months, according to the source.
Cohen-Watnick was blamed for giving House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) classified information that proved the Obama administration had unmasked members of the Trump campaign, but it is not true, according to the source and the New York Times.
His return follows recent personnel changes that have shifted towards Trump loyalists.
The Conservative Treehouse, which was still pro-Sessions at the time, offered this analysis:
I think everyone can see how each of these moves and shifts relates to the larger matters at hand. It is obvious Mr. Cohen-Watnick is part of the dynamic to capture all those who participated in the scheme to destroy the Trump presidency.
Unfortunately, we have not heard anything more about Cohen-Watnick since, although he reportedly has a brilliant mind, so perhaps he is working diligently in the shadows.
On April 18, several members of Congress wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Federal Prosecutor John Huber about criminal referrals for former FBI Director James Comey; former Asst. FBI Director Andrew McCabe; former Attorney General Loretta Lynch; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; current FBI Agent Peter Strzok; and current DOJ Attorney Lisa Page (former Special Counsel to Andrew McCabe).
Some of those people have testified, e.g. Lisa Page and Peter Strzok. On May 4, Lisa Page either left her post or was asked to leave it. She and Strzok testified a few months ago. Whereas Strzok sneered during most of his testimony, Page was much more forthcoming.
A few days later, on April 21, instead of reporting on this, the Washington Post wrote about President Trump referring to Sessions as Mr Magoo and to Rod Rosenstein as Mr Peepers, a popular 1950s sitcom character. Trump tweeted:
The Washington Post said I refer to Jeff Sessions as “Mr. Magoo” and Rod Rosenstein as “Mr. Peepers.” This is “according to people with whom the president has spoken.” There are no such people and [I] don’t know these characters…just more Fake & Disgusting News to create ill will!
I’m not sure about that. Trump allegedly said that Mr Peepers was his favourite television show as a child. He would also have seen Mr Magoo, if not on telly, then at the cinema.
Fortunately, Judge Jeanine Pirro of Fox News stayed on topic and interviewed Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on her show that day. She bolted out of the gates by asking Grassley about Sessions’s inaction over the past year. Grassley began by saying that the DoJ is normally discreet, therefore, Sessions and his department might be working on investigations. Pirro pressed on, saying that the FBI leaks ‘like a sieve’. Grassley said there were good elements in the FBI and DoJ and that people should not think that James Comey and Andrew McCabe represent either. Pirro wasn’t having it. She then asked Grassley whether he had confidence in Jeff Sessions. He said he did. She expressed her frustration at Grassley wanting to pass a bill protecting the Mueller investigation, when the Senate had hardly passed any useful legislation within the past year. Grassley said that the Democrats were to blame for any inaction on legislation or getting President Trump’s nominees confirmed. Grassley was calm, but you can see steam coming out of Pirro’s ears. She is very much anti-Sessions. More on that later.
On May 1, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) sent a letter to Jeff Sessions asking to have the FBI/DoJ investigation of the Clinton Foundation reviewed. Goodlatte stated his concerns that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and then-Principal Asst. Deputy Attorney General (PADAG) Matthew Axelrod might have interfered with the investigation, causing it to be compromised. The Conservative Treehouse has more.
We did not hear anything from Sessions about that, although the AG did find time to comment on the imminent arrival of the ‘caravan’ of illegals from Central America:
People are not going to caravan or otherwise stampede our border. We need legality and integrity in the system.
Again, that was a Homeland Security issue at that point.
Meanwhile, some in the know were becoming more vocal about Sessions. In a May 1 article on Newsmax, Larry Klayman, a former DoJ prosecutor and founder of Judicial Watch, laid out his reasons as to why Jeff Sessions is compromised. Excerpts follow:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is fatally compromised and must be immediately removed from his post as the head of the Justice Department …
It thus crystal clear that Sessions is at least a subject if not target of Mueller’s criminal grand jury investigations. As such, this explains why the attorney general has been inert, if not buried his head in the sand, and thus has refused to fire U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has “rubber stamped” anything that Mueller and his leftist prosecutors want — including the raid on the offices and residence of President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen.
This also explains why Sessions will not name a second special counsel to commence grand jury proceedings into the alleged criminality of the Clintons …
And, it explains why the alleged criminal misuse of the intelligence agencies by former President Barack Obama and his henchmen former Director of National Intelligence and former CIA Director John Brennan are “off limits” when it comes to federal law enforcement.
Finally, it also explains why Sessions had been such a failure in monitoring and stepping in meaningfully to redress the misconduct of his own department and its FBI …
Having been exposed as fatally compromised, for the good of the nation Attorney General Jeff Sessions must now either be fired or resign. His exit from my alma mater the Justice Department is no longer even debatable, for the good of the country and to restore integrity and restore an equal system of justice, rather than an unequal one for the elites of our nation’s capital — who are presently above the law — and another system of justice for the rest of us!
Pressure on Sessions continued to mount. On May 5, Robert Barnes, a trial lawyer in Las Vegas, wrote an article on his website that says that the Mueller investigation is unconstitutional when it goes beyond the 2016 campaign (i.e. Paul Manafort’s past activities) and that Sessions must limit it, even fire Mueller:
Sessions’ recusal does not prevent Sessions from removing Mueller’s power over non-collusion cases that do not concern the 2016 campaign. Indeed, the Constitution compels Sessions limit Mueller.
Attorney General Sessions can still fire Mueller for any investigation, indictment or other special counsel action that does not involve the 2016 election campaign. Amazingly, that includes almost every action Mueller has taken and is reported to be contemplating taking. By doing so, Sessions would be doing what the Constitution compels: enforcing the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, exercising his Constitutional obligation to “direct and supervise litigation” conducted by the Department of Justice, and ensuring the appropriate use of the federal grand jury …
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California) has been working hard all year on trying to expose FISA abuse but is hamstrung because Sessions and the DoJ will not hand over relevant documents to him and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Committee, which he chairs. He expressed his frustration to Fox News on May 6, which investigative journalist Sara Carter summed up as follows on Twitter:
@DevinNunes sent classified letter to AG Sessions asking for info/ AG Sessions DOJ ignored—-Move forward with contempt resolution against DOJ AG for refusal to comply with latest subpoena. They will go to court to force contempt subpoena against AG Sessions
The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft could barely contain himself:
This is HUGE news!
I, too, was hopeful.
Then, the DoJ issued a statement explaining why they could not comply with Nunes’s request. Nunes asked for information on a specific unnamed individual. The DoJ consulted with the White House, which declined the request. On May 6, the Washington Examiner reported:
“After careful evaluation and following consultations with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the White House, the Department has determined that, consistent with applicable law and longstanding Executive Branch policy, it is not in a position to provide information responsive to your request regarding a specific individual,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote in the letter.
“Disclosure of responsive information to such requests can risk severe consequences, including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interfere with intelligence activities,” Boyd added.
The letter also stated that the DOJ was willing to discuss other ways to accommodate the House Intelligence Committee’s oversight inquiry.
The Gateway Pundit followed up with Sara Carter (emphasis in the original):
Sara Carter said of the letter, “It appears from the letter Nunes had asked for information on a specific individual, not yet named and considered by DOJ to be a very valuable person for a counterintelligence operation.”
According to Congressional sources who spoke to Sara Carter, the information requested is necessary for the House committees to thoroughly conduct their investigation.
The Conservative Treehouse planted an idea in readers’ minds (emphases mine):
We have no way of knowing if the DOJ refusal relates to withholding evidence for a valid reason, or if the FBI/DOJ is refusing to comply because they are part of a cover-up of malicious conduct. Like many issues in this ongoing dynamic you can read valid and invalid motives into current action.
On May 8, someone filed a petition on the White House site:
Fire AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions
For all the obvious reasons.
Unfortunately, it garnered only 9,591 signatures out of the 100,000 required.
The furore from Congress did not die down. On May 10, Sara Carter wrote about Rep. Jim Jordan’s frustration. Many Trump supporters hope that he will be the next Speaker of the House when Paul Ryan finally leaves the post in January 2019:
Congressman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio is one of the numerous Republican congressional members who has been fighting the DOJ and FBI for information over the past year told this reporter that the information, other than highly classified information, requested by the committees should be made public.
“None of these folks at DOJ and FBI were elected officials and yet they are consistently keeping information from the committees and the American people,” said Jordan. “We’re talking about an investigation into a duly elected President of the United States and it’s a struggle just to get to the truth when we are being stonewalled or given excuses for the information we’re requesting.”
On May 12, American Greatness reported on the Deep State’s smearing of Nunes, who is a California dairy farmer, and a related Wall Street Journal article by Kimberley Strassel:
The Deep State Mob is continuing to squeeze the California congressman after he again threatened to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for ignoring congressional subpoenas and withholding crucial documents from Congressional investigators. Nunes has minced no words about how the Justice Department and FBI have been “stonewalling” his committee’s investigation for months. And as Nunes inches closer to revealing the stinking core of what is potentially the biggest political corruption scandal in U.S. history, the Deep State Mob is trying to close in on him first.
Nunes and other House Republicans want to find out exactly how and why the FBI’s counterintelligence operation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government began in the summer of 2016, and what intelligence sources either aided or instigated that probe …
While there are few details about the individual in question, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel intimates that the person could have been a mole inside the Trump campaign:
We know Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. We might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.
… Now Nunes’s foes are portraying him as a rogue actor—perhaps even a traitor—who is willing to see intelligence assets killed in order to carry water for President Trump. CNN national security analyst Asha Rangappa echoed the Justice Department’s warning that Nunes is risking lives to achieve political ends.
That day, investigative reporter Nick Short tweeted:
Reminder: Nunes issued a subpoena demanding that the DOJ provide information about an unnamed individual referenced in a classified letter to AG Jeff Sessions last month. How/why did that letter leak to the WaPo? Someone should ask Deputy AG Rosenstein.
On May 16, Breitbart reported:
Members of the Freedom Caucus urged the White House Wednesday to order Attorney General Jeff Sessions to release outstanding documents that could shed light on whether the Obama Administration’s surveillance of American citizens was politically motivated.
Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-IL), and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) sent a letter to President Donald Trump appealing for him to compel the release of documents relating to possible FISA abuse and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s August 2017 memo outlining the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Mark Meadows tweeted a copy of the letter and the following comment:
DOJ leadership has obstructed Congressional oversight for long enough. @Jim_Jordan @RepDeSantis and I asked POTUS to instruct the DOJ to release ALL relevant documents on potential FISA abuse, the initial investigation of the Trump campaign, and more.
Give Americans the truth.
There was more to come in May 2018 and, based on this and events to be discussed in my next post, I am dumbfounded that Sessions could continue to sit idly by. Who is this guy, anyway?