According to Politico, Donald Trump has personally been lobbying Republican senators to flip on Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Politico reported that Trump, angry with his attorney general, talked about firing Sessions last week during a phone call with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Graham last week said that Trump is “very likely” to fire Sessions and that the president was entitled to an attorney general “he has faith in.”
Trump, according to the outlet, also has “complained loudly” to several other Republican senators about Sessions.
Trump also complained that the attorney general doesn’t have the Ivy League pedigree the president prefers, that he can’t stand his Southern accent and that Sessions isn’t a capable defender of the president on television — in part because he “talks like he has marbles in his mouth,” the president has told aides.
The outlet reported that Graham and Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have been frustrated with Sessions’s opposition to a criminal justice reform bill they have been pushing.
Graham told reporters last week that it will soon “be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice.” “Clearly, Attorney General Sessions doesn’t have the confidence of the president,” he said.
Separately, Grassley told Bloomberg that he has time now for hearings for a new attorney general that he didn’t have previously.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) also predicted last week that Trump would fire Sessions after the midterms.
“It’s apparent that after the midterms he [Trump] will make a change and choose someone to do what he wants done,” Corker said. “… It just feels to me that after the midterms the president will make the change.”
Trump earlier this month privately revived the idea of firing Sessions, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
According to Politico, Trump’s latest drive to fire Sessions was prompted by the convictions last week of his former longtime attorney Michael Cohen and his former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Both convictions are tied, in part, to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation — for which Trump has blamed Sessions.
Last week during an interview with “Fox & Friends,” he said Sessions “never took control of the Justice Department” and criticized the attorney general for recusing himself from Mueller’s Russia probe.
Sessions issued a rare rebuke of Trump over those comments, saying the Department of Justice “will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”