The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Trump's Recess Scheme

    Until recently, I believed that President Trump's only option for firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller was a Nixonesque Saturday Night Massacre in which he fired everyone down the chain of command until he reached someone obsequious enough to do his bidding. This may be possible in principle, but it's a "nuclear" option likely to turn even Republican allies against him.

    There is another way, however. Trump's recent contretemps with Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggest that he's working on an alternative scheme to rid himself of that troublesome special counsel. If he can hound Sessions into resigning, Trump could then appoint an obedient, non-recused attorney general to shut down the investigation without technically "firing" anyone. There's a catch, though. Attorney general appointments require Senate confirmation, and even this timid Republican majority won't let Trump appoint whomever he wants.

    If the Senate is in session, that is. As Rachel Maddow reported yesterday, Trump can legally appoint a temporary acting attorney general without confirmation while the Senate is in recess. And guess what? The Senate is supposed to go into recess next month.

    If Sessions does conveniently resign during the August recess, there is still a way for the Senate to stop Trump from appointing whomever he likes. If Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sends a single senator to bang the gavel in an otherwise empty chamber every few days, the break will not be legally long enough for a recess appointment.

    Alas, McConnell may not be willing to openly help Trump take down Mueller, but there is no reason to expect that he would actively try to stop it. If Trump executes this scheme, Republican senators will publicly condemn the appointment, but they will say that there is nothing they can do, the President has the legal authority to make a recess appointment.

    After that, we enter the unknown.

    Late update: CNN reports that Democratic senators are planning procedural moves to prevent a recess appointment. If they're successful, I will be happy to be corrected. H/t Barefooted



    It appears that won't happen ...

    Senators are planning to continue procedural moves to prevent the Senate from formally adjourning for recess next month in order to prevent President Donald Trump from making recess appointments, when the chamber eventually adjourns through the Labor Day weekend.

    Using the threat of a filibuster, Democrats plan to force the Senate to hold pro forma sessions — a practice both parties have carried out to block recess appointments from presidents of opposite party, Democratic and Republican aides say.

    Thanks, I wasn't aware that Dems could do that. Great news.

    A professional hacker just provided me full access to my children's phone calls, text messages and their social media accounts which means i can now monitor their daily activities and also be able to know when they are being misled by anyone. I am happy about this because my kids mean the world to me and ever since the death of their mother, i promised  to always be there for them not only as a father but also as a mother so as to secure a bright future for them...You can contact the brain behind the hack at at gmail dot com for any problems you have that relates to hacking.

    Jaw dropped at "this timid Republican majority"...they are anything but timid, never have been timid at the flagrant exploitation of power.

    Shameless, conniving, brazen liars and unabashed servants of the rich.

    Well, timid in confronting Trump. But point well taken.

    From Rubin's piece this morning at WaPo: This morning Trump Tweets fit your analysis, as he is continuing trying to rile up the base about Hillary "crimes" not being prosecuted (as he did in his remarks to the Boy Scout Jamboree yesterday!)  In his twisted logic, the base would then give GOP Senators backing to support a different attorney general. But it's complicated. Rubin points out in that article that Scaramucci told Hugh Hewitt that he recommended not firing Sessions, that is also being reported this morning by Hewitt. So the part of the Trump base listening to Hewitt would not get fired up, if you know what I mean. Amazing that Scaramucci already has messaging conflicts with the Tweeter in it goes...

    Thanks. Also from Politico:

    Some White House advisers are warning the president against dismissing the attorney general. Chief strategist Steve Bannon, for example, has emphasized that firing Sessions is a risky move that would cast the White House in a negative light and potentially unleash a political disaster, according to a senior White House aide.

    Trump probably thinks he will avoid political blowback (and possible obstruction charges) if Sessions resigns rather than being fired.

    Resignation is what Trump wants and is so clearly telegraphing, but he'll still be left with the need for Senate confirmation - and after his NYT tantrum about Sessions' recusal it won't be an easy nomination for him.  

    Hewitt has been trying to thread the needle between defending Trump while criticizing him just enough to not be a Hannity like sycophant. I think that's why he just weeks ago he got a show on MSNBC. I wonder how he is viewed by the Trump base now that he has a show on the most liberal MSN network.

    WaPo's home page headline story right now:

    GOP senators stand up for Attorney General Sessions as Trump bashes him

    Unlike any other controversial move that President Trump has pondered during his first six months in the Oval Office, Senate Republicans are sending preemptive signals that firing the attorney general or pressuring him into resigning would be a terrible move.

    and then there's Borowitz:  Jeff Sessions Urges Melania to Work Harder on Campaign to Stop Cyberbullying

    “From my perspective, cyberbullying is very much a growing problem,” the Attorney General said.

    Maddow and Wolraich scooped WaPo (or planted the idea in Trump's noggin? or at the very least planted it with White House leakers?cheeky) Here's their home page headline right now:

    Two people familiar with the issue described President Trump as musing about the idea rather than outlining a plan of action, and several others said the president’s fury peaked over the weekend and that he and Sessions now seem to be heading toward an uneasy detente.


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