Trump can't hide behind Jeff Sessions, so he lashes out

Trump can't hide behind Jeff Sessions, so he lashes out
© Getty Images

What is behind the unprecedented way Trump treats his attorney general? And what will become of it all?

1. Never — ever — have we seen a POTUS publicly demean and denigrate his own attorney general the way Donald Trump treats Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump Chris Wallace: AG Barr 'clearly is protecting' Trump Appeals court rules Trump end of DACA was unlawful MORE;

2. Let us remember: Sessions was the very first Republican U.S. senator to appear with Trump at a rally and then, later, to endorse Trump in the 2016 GOP primary — and he did it at a time when virtually no one thought Trump would win;

3. The two were seemingly kindred political souls on illegal immigration, Trump’s signature issue in that primary race;

4. Sessions was a long-time toiler in the conservative vineyards. By joining with Trump he conferred on this former New York Democrat and thrice-married man the imprimatur of acceptance on the Principled Right;

5. Trump signaled his seeming appreciation by appointing Sessions as his attorney general over two people he knew very well and who had also helped him in key moments of the campaign, Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani. Sessions, a former U.S. attorney in Alabama and a rejected appointee for a federal judgeship, wanted the AG-ship as a capstone to a long public career;

6. Then came former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenHirono electrifies left as Trump antagonist Miss USA pageant winner celebrated for addressing 'Me Too' movement on stage NY man sentenced to prison for racist death threats to Obama, Waters MORE’s (D-Minn.) Russian question in Sessions’ confirmation hearing. The rest is history;

7. Soon Sessions tried to clean up his statements but ended up making his own situation even worse;

8. After securing confirmation from a GOP-dominated Senate, he then complied with Justice Department rules and recused himself from the Trump-Russia investigation in March of 2017;

9. And immediately Trump turned on his own attorney general;

10. Why? That is the key question;

11. We now know that at least four times after that recusal — three times in person and once on the phone — Trump has tried to coax Sessions to “un-recuse” himself. Trump apparently had hoped that loyal Sessions would cancel the Mueller investigation and all would be right in the world;

12. Trump has reportedly invoked Bobby Kennedy and Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEric Holder: 'There are grounds for impeachment' in Mueller report Prosecutor appointed by Barr poised to enter Washington firestorm Dems struggle to make Trump bend on probes MORE as examples of loyal AGs who looked out for their POTUSes; Trump had evidently thought Sessions would do the same;

13. Apparently Trump believes the attorney general is there to protect him from his own possible crimes and even from investigations looking into those possible crimes. Trump’s obvious “consciousness of guilt” reeks throughout this entire matter;

14. Only there is one thing that got in the way of Trump’s wishes: Sessions knows the law. He knows the price to be paid if he violated the terms of his recusal and interfered with an ongoing criminal investigation;

15. He knows what defines “obstruction of justice”;

16. He probably knows – whether or not these four conversations and potentially others – could demonstrate “corrupt intent” by Trump, perhaps the key ingredient to an obstruction of justice charge;

17. In an unprecedented twist, Sessions has already been interviewed by Mueller’s team. Yet he is also nominally their boss and he also still interacts with Trump. Thus he is at the epicenter of this crisis. Is he in effect a witness-in-place to Trump’s possible obstruction of justice?

18. No wonder Trump is regularly blasting Sessions via Twitter. He is stuck with an attorney general who will not and cannot end the legal peril Trump is in, and who may in fact contribute to it;

19. We know that members of the GOP Senate have told Trump not to fire Sessions, their former colleague, and that they would be in no hurry to confirm a replacement, thus leaving Trump with Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDemocrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Barr dismisses contempt vote as part of 'political circus' Flynn provided details in Mueller's obstruction inquiry, new memo shows MORE as the acting attorney general;

20. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE has cornered himself. His legal peril increases on a daily basis. With both the Mueller team and the Southern District of New York breathing down his neck, the president is desperate to distract, to investigate the investigators and to attack the attackers;

21. The president is clearly furious that the person he sees as “his” top government lawyer — Attorney General Jeff Sessions — is not standing with him. Sessions is not standing against the law or against the investigations;

22. Prediction: The end of the Trump-Russia investigation will make Watergate look like a Sunday school picnic.

John LeBoutillier, a former U.S. congressman (R-N.Y.), is the co-host of REVOLUTION — The Podcast, available on Soundcloud and iTunes.