Viewpoint – Attorney general firing, hiring raises concerns

By JW McNay/managing editor

Only one day after the 2018 midterm election results came in, President Donald Trump wasted no time in making another questionable decision, adding to an ongoing pattern.

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation Nov. 7. Sessions’ resignation letter starts with “Dear Mr. President, At your request, I am submitting my resignation.”

So, the move should be called what it really is: Sessions was fired.

The change has far-reaching implications as the fate of the Mueller probe is now more uncertain. With the president and his campaign as a focus of the investigation, it’d be a conflict of interest for him to take actions that appear to impede it, but such decisions are not without precedent for Trump.

Last year, Trump fired then FBI Director James Comey for how he handled the investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails and Russian collision in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump has been more than willing to utilize the power and influence of the presidential office without asking himself whether or not he should. The timing of Sessions’ resignation is purposeful coming only one day after the midterm elections ended, likely to avoid the political blow back such a move could have had on any of the races.

Sessions’ departure was inevitable as Trump repeatedly and publicly expressed disappointment with Sessions, who recused himself in March 2017.

Trump has appointed Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General, a more favorable attorney general for the Trump administration.

Before his new role, Whitaker publicly criticized the Russian investigation which begs the question: should Whitaker also recuse himself?

Whitaker will now have oversight of the Mueller probe. Despite Whitaker’s biases in the matter, it is still unknown whether he will recuse himself from such matters.

Firing Sessions shows that Trump will continue to wield the power of his office irresponsibly, and it shouldn’t be used to serve his own interests.

Whitaker and the next Attorney General appointed by Trump should recuse themselves from the case and allow Mueller to continue the investigation without influence from the current administration.