Senator Jeff Flake hinted on “Meet the Press” that if Donald Trump fires Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it would be the “first domino to fall.” Flake speculated that the firing of Sessions would be followed by the firing of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump’s feud with his own attorney general reached a new level over the past week as Sessions made a surprise effort to defend himself, releasing a statement saying that the Justice Department will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.
While some Republicans, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have started suggesting that Sessions will be gone after the midterm elections, Flake said Sunday that they’re in the minority.
“There may be a few isolated voices saying that the president ought to fire him now,” Flake said. “I can tell you as a body we’re saying, ‘Please don’t.’ He serves at the pleasure of the president. We all know that. But I think it would be a big mistake for the president to fire him now.”
Trump may be well within his rights to fire Sessions, although the “optics” would be horrible. Firing an attorney general for not investigating the opposition at the president’s request would be unprecedented. The real problem for Trump would be a loss of Republican support on the Hill. He’s going to need all the GOP support he can get if the Democrats take control of the House and initiate impeachment proceedings.
Flake said that support from most Republican senators would drift away if he fires Sessions. But what are the chances of that happening? Once again, Trump is trolling, looking for ways to spread chaos and concern. Otherwise, we have to believe he is ignorant of how blatantly improper it is to suggest a partisan course of action for the Department of Justice.
Trump has no doubt been told several times that firing Sessions would be a very bad idea and firing Mueller would likely ensure his impeachment, although there is little chance of conviction in the Senate. But Trump has surprised his supporters and critics before and I’m sure there’s a page in his playbook where both Sessions and Mueller are forced out.