Sessions made a mistake of playing by the rules. While his opponents didn’t


The main problem that faces US President Donald Trump and his team is that they are dealing with opponents who stick to the principle of anything goes. That is the motto of most left-wing liberal minded people who don’t tolerate opposing views easily and are known to bend the rules when dealing with the opposition. The saga that is now unravelling around Trump’s close ally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, confirms this point.

As things stand, the prospects for Mr Sessions don’t look good. To sum it up in short, the boss is not very happy with him. The issue that has caused President Trump’s displeasure, which he articulated through his usual favourite medium, Twitter, is about the fall-out from the Attorney General’s decision to recuse himself in March from the inquiry into the supposed Russian meddling in the US presidential election of 2016 that is currently conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. This investigation seem to be broadening in scope with such pace that Trump and his inner circle are starting to believe that it has gone way beyond its initial remit.

To understand what happened we need to glance back at the situation that surrounded Mr Session back in March, less than a month after his confirmation by the Senate as Attorney General. The pressure on him was piled by the Democrats and the media regarding his two meetings with the now former Russian ambassador to Washington Sergey Kislyak in 2016. At the time accusations against the Trump administration over its supposed ‘collusion’ with the Russian government in influencing the result of the election were flying all over the place and it was no surprise that Sessions, as a close ally of the President, became a prime target. Especially as he did not mention those two meetings, both of which, by the way, were not specially organised on-on-one conversations but were chance encounters during bigger functions that included other ambassadors as well. (You can read more about it on in the article entitled “On diplomats. And what they’re up to when stationed abroad.”) But in the atmosphere of the hysteria that the Democrats and their allies in the media were whipping up these omissions were presented as some sinister confirmation of possible foul play that put Mr Sessions’ integrity ‘in doubt’.

And that is why the current Attorney General made a crucial mistake of deciding to play by the rules and demonstrate his readiness to be above board. He forgot who he was dealing with and announced during his testimony to the Senate on the Russian role in the US elections and his supposed part in it that he was recusing himself from any investigation into the matter. It obviously took the heat off him, for a while. But it created a situation that President Trump’s enemies used to their advantage. And that is why a crisis has now developed that puts Mr Sessions’s political future on the line. The Democrats, naturally, use this crisis to their advantage, blaming Trump and his team for infighting and creating more turmoil within the administration.

President Trump now believes that his Attorney General made a huge mistake by letting the Russian investigation turn into a part of the overall witch hunt that he thinks is going on against him. He probably did not choose the best way to signal his anxiety, by sharing it with about 33 million of his followers on Twitter, but considering the pressure that he and his team are under it is understandable.

Rumours have already appeared that Mr Trump is actually worried that special counsel Mueller and his people are looking at the whole business network of the Trump family, trying to uncover anything that may indicate ‘collusion’ with the Russians. Rumours generally seem to be spreading in Washington every time the narrative that is plugged by the Democrats and the media needs a bit of a push-up, to make the situation look more sinister and complicated than it really is.

At this moment it’s unclear whether Mr Sessions will survive and the new communications chief in the White House, Anthony Scaramucci, even said that a decision on his fate will be made soon. Sessions himself, who has powerful friends in the Senate where he served for many years representing Alabama, is putting on a brave face on the situation and saying that he intends to stay. And some insiders are saying that he might still weather out the storm. But in the current atmosphere of intense political manoeuvring in Washington it is difficult to predict if that would be the case.

Still, the lesson that Mr Sessions would have learned from his predicament is that playing by the rules when you are dealing with people who don’t can be very hazardous.