Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions recused himself from the special counsel, Robert Mueller’s, investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Of course, he was not out of the picture. He reminded us of this when he pulled a big surprise with his latest news.
The reason Sessions recused himself from the Mueller investigation was that the AG participated in the Trump campaign and lied about his meetings with Russian government operatives during his confirmation hearings. That meant his recusal was necessary and legal.
Regardless, he sent out an eye-opening message with his latest announcement. The Department of Justice (DOJ) released a statement, Bloomberg reported:
‘The attorney general considers his potential recusal on a matter-by-matter basis as may be needed. To the extent a matter comes to the attention of his office that may warrant consideration of recusal, the attorney general would review the issue and consult with the appropriate Department ethics experts.’
It seems that the AG will oversee the investigation into the president’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The attorney paid women who had affairs with Donald Trump hush money and made them sign nondisclosure agreements. The investigation into Cohen may involve money laundering, fraud, and a number of other charges.
The president has been extremely critical of Sessions ever since the AG stepped down from the Russian investigation. Trump wanted his AG to have his back and let the investigation slide into an abyss of nothingness.
The question becomes then, will Sessions try to please the president and go soft on Cohen? Or will he manage the case with the same high standards as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein applied to managing the Russian investigation?
Given that Sessions will be managing the Cohen case, that means he will get briefings on the investigation’s status. He has put himself in the unfortunate situation of being forced to share them with the president.
The report said:
‘Sessions could also weigh in on specific decisions by prosecutors, including whether to pursue subpoenas and indictments, (but he) will consider stepping back from specific questions tied to the probe.’
Mueller gave the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York after talking to Rosenstein. They felt that the case was too far afield for Mueller to manage it.
Sessions would be able to give his opinions on any decision the prosecutors make, including whether to order subpoenas and indictments.
The U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, recused himself from the Cohen investigation. Thus far, he has not given a reason for his actions.
Rosenstein’s job at the Department of Justice has been to coordinate and resolve conflicts between Mueller’s Russian investigation and the Cohen probe. The deputy Attorney General approved the FBI raid on the president’s attorney’s office, home, temporary residence, and even his safe deposit box.
They came away with 11 electronic devices, and all the information that they held.
The president called the FBI’s raid “an attack on what we all stand for.” He also gave another dig at Sessions for recusing himself in Mueller’s investigation, calling it a “terrible mistake:”
Sessions will be limited in what he can do, according to former U.S. attorney for Connecticut and white-collar defense attorney, Stanley Twardly:
‘It’s a question of what Sessions has decided to do.’
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