Roy Moore’s nose-diving senate campaign may prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Republican Party and President Donald Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) confirmed today that there’s a plot afoot to that would keep Alabama’s open senate seat red and allow the president to kill special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s coordination, cooperation, and potential collusion with Russia’s counter intelligence operation to undermine the 2016 presidential election.
Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.
What until this afternoon had been just a theory bandied-about among Washington insiders and political geeks is suddenly a legitimate plan to salvage a GOP desperate for salvation from two existential threats: losing their already-slim senate majority, and Mueller’s investigation uncovering offenses by the president and/or those closest to him that would force impeachment.
The idea is to kill two birds with one stone, and it goes something like this:
Because of Alabama elections laws, there’s no mechanism at this point in the race to replace embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore on the ballot for the December 12th special election. If the party wants to give voters a Republican alternative to Moore, they’d have to run a write-in campaign. Write in campaigns are highly risky, and they only have a prayer if the candidate has massive name recognition and state-wide favorability in his favor.
Fortunately for Republicans, such a candidate exists. He’s the man who vacated the seat and opened it up to a special election in the first place: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.
Sen. McConnell all but confirmed that this option is under heavy consideration in a meeting with the Wall Street Journal’s CEO CouncilTuesday. Asked about the possibility of a write-in campaign to replace Roy Moore on the Alabama ballot, McConnell said, “The name being most often discussed may not be available, but the Alabamian who would fit that standard would be the attorney general,” McConnell said. “He’s totally well-known and is extremely popular in Alabama.”
Jeff Sessions left the senate at the end of 2016 to join the Trump administration as Attorney General. Thanks to perjuring himself before congress over his Russian contacts, he was forced to recuse himself from ongoing Justice Department investigations into Russia’s hacking and social media disinformation operation that targeted Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
These investigations were turbo charged when Assistant AG Rod Rosenstein was compelled to appoint a special prosecutor after President Trump’s controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey. With Sessions sidelined, there’s no Trump loyalist at the Department of Justice to steer, slow, or otherwise influence what Robert Mueller does.
The president has been open about his disappointment in Sessions for recusing himself and exposing him to the full force of Bob Mueller’s investigation, which has begun raining indictments against, and convictions of, members of the Trump campaign. Reports abound about Trump’s eagerness to fire Mueller, but he needs the Attorney General carry it out because Mueller has to be fired for cause, something only his boss can legitimately do. With Sessions officially recused, that option is off the table.
Unless, that is, Sessions was no longer Attorney General. Were he to vacate his post, it would allow President Trump to appoint a new AG with no barriers to overseeing Mueller’s investigation. That AG could then fire the special counsel literally minutes after he’s sworn in. The political fallout would be immense, a repeat of the Saturday Night Massacre when President Nixon fired Watergate investigator Archibald Cox. That move didn’t save Nixon, ultimately, but it did buy him an extra year in office.
Over the summer, President Trump launched a vile campaign on Twitter and in the media to publicly humiliate Sessions in hopes that he would resign. But under pressure from Republicans in Ccongress, he backed down, and Sessions refused to quit.
The wounds from the public shaming are still open, however, and with the Roy Moore debacle unfolding over the last few days, suddenly an exit strategy for Sessions acceptable to both him and senate Republicans has materialized.
Sessions has shown no sign he’s ready to leave his post as attorney general. The few public comments he’s made when confronted with this theory confirm he has no interest in it. But with Mitch McConnell now publicly endorsing the idea, he may reconsider, if for no other reason that to save the Republican majority in the senate.
We know the president wouldn’t mind this one bit./verifiedpolitics.com/