Two of Congress’s most ardent Trump defenders, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mark Meadows (R-NC) of the House’s ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, are calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign.
Why? The Russia investigation is becoming too big a distraction from President Trump’s victories, from the stock market’s “surge” to the GOP’s overhaul of the nation’s tax code, the Congress members write in an op-ed in the Washington Examiner.
They say that by recusing himself from the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the United States election, Sessions has lost “control,” allowing for a leaky and unnecessarily overdrawn, partisan investigation:
The alarming number of FBI agents and DOJ officials sharing information with reporters is in clear violation of the investigative standards that Americans expect and should demand. How would New York Times reporters know any of this information when the FBI and DOJ are prohibited from talking about ongoing investigations? How many FBI agents and DOJ officials have illegally discussed aspects of an ongoing investigation with reporters? When will it stop?
Confusingly, Meadows and Jordan go on to both call for Sessions to regain control of the Russia investigation and call for his resignation:
It is time for Sessions to start managing in a spirit of transparency to bring all of this improper behavior to light and stop further violations. If Sessions can’t address this issue immediately, then we have one final question needing an answer: When is it time for a new attorney general?
Sadly, it seems the answer is now.
The call to remove Sessions is a clear escalation of a growing conservative chorus raising suspicion around special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russian foreign agents.
Mueller, who was mostly welcomed by Republicans across the board at the time of his appointment — largely out of a desire to take the immediate pressure off Congress’s multiple investigations into Trump and the 2016 election — has been the target of House conservatives for weeks.
Trump allies like Jordan, among other conservatives both in and out of the Capitol, have been calling for the president to fire Mueller (notably, without the support of Republican leadership).
The effort has aimed to chip away at the Russia investigation’s credibility, via tying Mueller to former FBI Director James Comey, the Clintons, and Democrats at large.
Now Meadows and Jordan are blaming Sessions for letting it all happen in the first place.
- Vox’s Alex Ward explains conservatives’ case for firing Mueller, from casting a partisan shadow over Mueller to decrying leaks.
- The Russia investigation took a lot of turns in 2017. Vox’s Andrew Prokop breaks down what was learned in the first year.