When President Trump fired from the hip – does his figurative pistol ever leave his hip? – in a New York Times interview, he seemed to be aiming at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump loyalist and former right-wing Alabama senator. Trump said if he’d known Sessions would recuse himself from the investigation of the Russia-Trump campaign connection, he wouldn’t have named him to the post.
In fact, of course, Sessions did the right thing, though he’s otherwise turning Justice Department policy back to the more oppressive, hard-right days. But the president continues to show that he views anyone in his administration as first responsible to the president and secondarily working for the American people. James Comey was fired as FBI director in part because he wouldn’t pledge loyalty to Trump.
And now it’s being reported that Trump has Robert Mueller, the respected former FBI head leading the Russia investigation, in his sights. He and his aides may be trying to work up a case against Mueller so Trump can orchestrate his firing. In fact, to fire Mueller would almost certainly bring on calls for Trump’s impeachment and make Republicans in Congress who already are nervous about Trump move even further from him.
But Sessions may be first. He hasn’t shown much competence at Justice, but his main problem now seems to be that Trump has turned on him, and the mercurial Trump cares little for protocol and has no one around him to pull the reins.