There has been a lot of speculation that President Trump will fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterm elections. Now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has weighed in on the matter of a possible replacement for Sessions.
A replacement for Sessions, McConnell told the AP, is “not going to come from our caucus, I can tell you that.”
McConnell’s objections to losing a Republican senator to the Department of Justice seemed more grounded in political practicality than in an ethical problem related to Trump’s reasons for dismissing Sessions. McConnell cited the Republicans’ slim 51-49 majority as a reason for not referring a Senate Republican to Trump for the job. When rogue Republicans such as Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are considered, the Republican majority often evaporates quickly.
McConnell is undoubtedly concerned about replacing a Senate Republican in the current political climate. When a special election was held for Jeff Sessions’ Alabama seat, Republican voters rejected his appointed successor, Luther Strange, in favor of Roy Moore, who ended up losing in the general election to Doug Jones.
If he waits until after the election to fire Sessions, President Trump may have a hard time getting a replacement confirmed. Current Senate polling suggests that Republicans have the upper hand in the battle for control of the body, but Democrats remain within striking distance. Even if the appointment goes to the current Congress, some Republican senators would likely refuse to cooperate with an attempt to oust Sessions. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said in August that he found it “really difficult to envision any circumstance” in which he would vote to confirm a successor to Sessions.
McConnell did not address any effect that firing Sessions might have on the Mueller probe but did argue that the current Congress has been “extraordinarily accomplished.” He cited tax reform, regulatory reform, changes to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and the appointment of numerous conservative judges to federal courts as well as a bipartisan bill to combat the opioid crisis.
Originally published on The Resurgent
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