President Donald Trump recently criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not firing Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr who was tied to the Steele Dossier that became prominent in the 2016 presidential election and was referenced in FISA warrant applications for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
“Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions “Justice” Department? A total joke!” Trump tweeted on Monday.
As a result, talk of Trump potentially firing Sessions has come up, and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham appeared to greenlight President Trump firing him after the midterm elections. Their remarks are a reversal of what both men have said in the past.
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon warned against firing Sessions:
“It has been a strange couple of hours in this building – lots of goofy talk about firing the Attorney General,” Sasse said.
Sasse said he wanted to state publicly what he has conveyed to his Senate colleagues and communicated to the President: “It would be a very, very, very bad idea to fire the Attorney General because he’s not executing his job as a political hack. That is not the job of the Attorney General Attorney General’s job is to be faithful to the Constitution and the rule of law.”
Sasse read the second half of a statement that Sessions released earlier in the day through Department of Justice spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores on Twitter after President Trump said Sessions did not have control of the Department.
I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda – one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration law, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty.
While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.
I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law.
“That is his job,” Sasse said.
Sasse said there are some issues he and his colleagues agree with Jeff Sessions, while he was in the Senate and in his role as Attorney General, and issues where they don’t. He said there should be consensus on how he is fulfilling his role as Attorney General.
“I think everybody in this body knows that Jeff Sessions has been executing his job in a way faithful to his oath of office, to the Constitution, and trying to defend the rule of law,” he added.
“I think Jeff Sessions’ statement today that the Department of Justice is filled with honorable, dispassionate prosecutors who execute their job in a way that the American people should be proud of is indisputably true. What he said is something that everybody in this body knows and agrees with,” Sasse continued. “Yet bizarrely there are people now talking like the Attorney General will be fired, should be fire, I’m not sure how to interpret the comments of the last couple of hours. I guess I would just like to say as a member of the Judiciary Committee, and as a member of this body, I find it really difficult to envision any circumstances where I would vote to confirm a successor to Jeff Sessions if he is fired because he is executing his job rather than choosing to act as a partisan hack.”
Watch his entire speech: