Earlier today Senator Lindsey Graham provided a pathway for President Trump to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the mid-term election. To further bolster this likelihood, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley affirmed he could now make room for a replacement confirmation in the lame-duck congressional session between the November election and January 2019.
The statement by Senator Graham is a considerable reversal given his prior admonishment that firing AG Sessions would result in “hell to pay”; and further underlines an increasingly visible acceptance by high-profile republicans that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been an abysmal failure.
The Attorney General has been strong and effective on border security and immigration issues, mostly due to effective support for Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS). However, on the needed institutional reform Sessions has been frustratingly inept. Many who understand Main Justice politics openly say AG Jeff Sessions is actually scared of the apparatus under his authority.
Against the abject failure of the DOJ to accept oversight and commit to reform amid the obvious chaos from a highly politicized previous administration, in May of this year House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes threatened to hold Attorney General Sessions in contempt of congress.
In an interesting set of tweets two weeks ago, President Trump highlighted the lack of DOJ leadership (specifically AG Jeff Sessions) in addressing institutional corruption within the DOJ which led to “spygate” and a fraudulent application for an unlawful FISA application used to conduct surveillance upon U.S. Person Carter Page.
In the second set of tweets that day, President Trump noted how officials within the FBI are continuing to obstruct oversight and refuse to turn over evidence of institutional corruption. In a pointed question President Trump asks: “What are they hiding”?
The overall message delivered by President Trump highlights the ongoing institutional issues which are not being addressed by either AG Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Both Law and Order officials are acting as corruption monitors, and neither are confronting it.
And within this dynamic we accept events as they appear:
•After the IG report on the Clinton investigation, Director Wray took no action to address the issues of the deeply political FBI; and no-one within the organization has been held accountable. With the single exception of McCabe, all former corrupt officials have been permitted to exit with full benefits and pensions intact.
•Additionally, there is no effort on behalf of the DOJ to follow-up on the IG criminal referral to charge former Asst. FBI Director Andrew McCabe for lying to the FBI, leaking information to the media and using his office/position to influence an official investigation.
•Worse yet, there is an ongoing and highly visible DOJ leadership effort to cover-up the gross criminal behavior of the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee Security staff, James Wolfe. Despite overwhelming evidence that James Wolfe leaked top secret and highly classified intelligence to the media, the DOJ has only charged Wolfe with one much lesser crime of lying to the FBI.
Initially, through 2017, we were optimistic that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray would take action to: (A) reveal the scale and scope of the prior unlawful DOJ/FBI activity; and (B) bring criminal charges against those officers who engaged in a conspiracy to influence the 2016 election and overthrow a duly elected President. However, in the face of overwhelming evidence highlighting the Sessions/Wray emphasis, we can clearly see from their decision-making their primary goal is preservation of the institutions regardless of downstream consequences.
If he is not afraid, at the very least Attorney General Jeff Sessions has continued down a path of willful blindness.
After the IG report outlining seriously corrupt and unethical behavior within the FBI, it was painfully obvious FBI Director Christopher Wray was going to twist himself into contortions to avoid even accepting the scale of corruption outlined within the report.
That is just a small snippet of the IG report, and none of this has been addressed.
In the aggregate, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Christopher Wray and David Bowditch appear to be working against the interests of reform in their efforts to protect the Washington DC institutions sunlight. All four officials are allowing current career staff and former officials within the DOJ/FBI to continue conspiring to protect their former colleagues.
It has become increasingly obvious that if the MAGA community, the electorate writ large, can all pull together and win/hold the 2018 Mid-Term election President Trump will likely fire the failing leadership of both the FBI and DOJ. Within this backdrop President Trump’s personal efforts to win and hold position in the November elections is essentially a visible display of his intent toward that objective.
It is now clear that officials connected to the DOJ and FBI, or officials within Washington DC, cannot be used in any effort to eliminate the corruption within both organizations. It will take bold outside leadership, with knowledge of the operations, to dismantle it.
How to reform?
I would propose that President Trump goes outside-the-box toward the Judicial Branch, and locates two federal judges, from outside DC, with a request to become heads of the DOJ. Perhaps two members of the SCOTUS list who could be trusted to confront the internal dynamic and remove the embed corruption. Or perhaps one Federal Judge as Attorney General, and one state AG as the deputy. Example: Judge Dianne Sykes as AG, and Pam Bondi (or similar) as Deputy.
It will take a great deal of internal DOJ reform to get rid of the Lawfare mindset.
Similarly I would propose two former Governors should be brought in to lead an institutional reform effort within the FBI. Perhaps Rick Perry as FBI Director, and/or Bobby Jindal as Deputy (or similar). Two people who know the structure of investigative need, with prior institutional knowledge, who can push the importance of domestic security into the FBI field office ranks and re-prioritize the objectives.
The lessons throughout 2016, 2017 and 2018 have showcased that any/all corruption reform within DC institutions, simply cannot be dealt with by any leadership entity that has a personal or professional network connected to the adverse interests of Washington DC.