The Administration

OPINION | Trump, there is no better AG than Jeff Sessions — don’t lose him


President Trump now faces the extreme difficulties any conservative Republican president must face in the Washington, D.C., swamp of liberal, big government. Trump has been accused falsely of having some tie to Russian hacking of Democratic National Committee e-mails and other attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.  

And now, like Ronald Reagan before him, Trump has been subjected to a very unfair investigation by a special prosecutor who should recuse himself.  In Trump’s case, the special prosecutor is close friends with Jim Comey, a man whom Trump was quite right to fire on the grounds he was incompetent and overly political in his handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail matter last summer and fall.

Attacking President Trump over Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election is especially outrageous given the fact that the person who was in charge of the government in the fall of 2016, and who should have stopped the Russian hacking from occurring, was then-President Barack Obama, assisted by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-FBI Director Jim Comey. It was their job at that time to keep this country safe.

{mosads}Senator Chuck Schumer holds President Trump to a ridiculous double standard on matters of ethics. Senator Schumer seems to think that it is vital that a special prosecutor investigate the Trump campaign’s vague ties to Russia, but he was willing to give Hillary Clinton a free pass on her blatantly illegal use of an unsecure e-mail server to store classified information and on her giving face-time, when she was secretary of State, to the Clinton Foundation donors.

I am ardently opposed to the criminalization of political disagreements.  While I am fairly certain that Hillary Clinton violated the law with her private e-mail server, I do not believe she should now be prosecuted for it because the president she served under accepted her behavior and it is a tradition in American politics that we do not send those we disagree with politically to the guillotine the way the French Revolutionary Robespierre did.

The same principle applies to President Trump and his family.  No one in this country should have a special prosecutor — who is a kind of legal Terminator — set after them to find some criminal law (any will do) that they may have violated.

The appointment of special prosecutors is nothing less than the criminalization of politics.  Senator Schumer’s party could not beat President Trump in the 2016 presidential election, so the senator is trying to have him and his family criminally prosecuted.  I think the criminalization of politics is un-American, that it violates the First Amendment, and that it is inconsistent with our constitution and traditions.  I agree with President Trump that he has gotten a raw deal.

The solution to the problem of the criminalization of politics, however, requires that a man who is as principled and as ethical and as professional as is Attorney General Jeff Sessions stay on as the head of the Justice Department.  Attorney General Sessions brings a wealth of experience to the Justice Department as a former federal prosecutor and as a U.S. Senator for two decades.  He is from all public accounts a very good, decent, and honorable man.  President Trump would lose a huge asset if he were to fire General Sessions.

Republican senators and conservatives around the country would feel betrayed. No one who is nearly as good as Sessions is could ever be confirmed if Sessions were fired. President Trump would be accused of politicizing the Justice Department were he to fire Sessions on the heels of firing Jim Comey. It would be morally the wrong thing to do, and it would be politically the wrong thing to do.

Let’s have an executive branch commission investigate how thoroughly Obama’s administration messed up in protecting us from Russian hacking, but let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot.

The very best things that President Trump has done can be found in some of his personnel decisions. The hiring: of Vice President Mike Pence; of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch; of Secretary of Defense Jim Mathis; and, yes, of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. These are all great decisions.  

These are people who belong on the A-Team list. It would be tragic beyond words for President Trump to let Chuck Schumer con him into firing one of the very best men ever hired to be attorney general in American history.

Steven G. Calabresi is the Clayton J. and Henry R. Barber professor of law at Northwestern University. Mr. Calabresi served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court, and he also clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judges Robert H. Bork and Ralph K. Winter.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

Tags Barack Obama Chuck Schumer Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Dismissal of James Comey Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign Hillary Clinton James Comey Jeff Sessions Jeff Sessions Mike Pence Mike Pence Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections

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