Grassley now 'nonchalant about defending Sessions' if Trump moves to replace him

Grassley now 'nonchalant about defending Sessions' if Trump moves to replace him
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMulvaney faces uncertain future after public gaffes State cites 38 people for violations in Clinton email review Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings MORE (R-Iowa) says he is now less attached to defending Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Washington Times after story on her 'high-dollar hairdo' Trump's tirades, taunts and threats are damaging our democracy MORE if President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE moves to replace him.

"The answer that I gave a year ago was directed directly at the president that I honestly didn’t have time to consider anything else. It was also somewhat of a defense of Sessions,” Grassley told the Washington Examiner in an interview published Monday, referencing comments he made last year that he did not have time to confirm a replacement.

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“Now, I’m kind of nonchalant about defending Sessions," he said. "I like him very much personally, and I want him to be a good attorney general, but the president’s got a right to have somebody in there he wanted.”

Grassley told the Examiner he had time on his calendar to consider replacements, adding, "I’m not just saying that not just about Sessions. I got time [for anything].”

Grassley made similar statements in August, according to Bloomberg, saying, "I do have time for hearings on nominees that the president might send up here that I didn’t have last year."

Sessions and Grassley publicly clashed over the senator's efforts to pass criminal justice reform that's opposed by the attorney general. A vote on the legislation has been postponed until after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

However, Grassley got a boost earlier this month when Trump said he would overrule Sessions on the prison overhaul.

"We haven’t had a sit down conversation about reform,” Grassley told the Examiner. “But we’ve got the president saying he doesn’t care what Sessions thinks about criminal justice reform.”

“If the president wants to be for it, he’s going to run over him," Grassley said.