Nobody could recall a previous episode in which a modern president went public to rebuke his own attorney general appointee, but then balked at firing him.
After President Donald Trump said he wouldn’t have put Jeff Sessions in the job if he knew he’d recuse himself on the Russia probe, a spokeswoman indicated Sessions is safe.
When asked, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “Clearly, he has confidence in him or he would not be the attorney general.”
This comes despite Trump carping to The New York Times that the recusal was “extremely unfair” to him. Sessions, for his part, said he will keep the job “as long as that is appropriate,” whatever that means.
The bigger picture
One fear or concern expressed by Trump as president is the degree to which special Russia counsel Robert Mueller may explore the finances of Trump as businessman.
Now Bloomberg News reports that a “broad range of transactions” in Trump’s world is indeed under review — such as apartments in Trump buildings, the hotel development in SoHo, and sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian businessman in 2008.
There also appear to be ties to a money-laundering probe involving former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Trump’s history of debt through Deutsche Bank is attracting investigative interest as well. Against this bigger backdrop, Donald Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer and others may prove to be a small piece of the puzzle.
The Washington Post reported late Thursday that Trump lawyers are discussing ways to limit Mueller’s latitude and even issue pardons if needed.
Summer White House
The federal government is prepared to reimburse the security costs of having the president spend much of his “away” time at the Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort he owns.
This required having the Secret Service designate Bedminster as a “residence of the president” so local officials could apply for reimbursement for law-enforcement personnel.
Palm Beach County in Florida, where his frequently visited Mar-a-Lago resort is located, has been authorized by Congress to get such reimbursement, as is New York City, where police are assigned to security at Trump Tower.
Trump has been outrunning his predecessor Barack Obama for the number of hours spent on golf courses.
The GOP failure to agree on a bill to replace Obamacare has enraged right-leaning activists, who for years have taken repeal as a sacred political vow. It has also left the Republicans in power stymied and clogged up on other issues, such as taxes.
Trump advised Congress to “let Obamacare fail,” and advised “repeal only,” then pushed them to stay in Washington and work on a new replacement bill. Multiple versions are kicking around, but as of Thursday, hadn’t gained traction.
Some conservative commentators assailed Trump’s leadership on the issue as incoherent and unfocused.
What else is happening
- Christopher Wray, nominated to replace James Comey as FBI director, won unanimous approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee, setting the stage for his confirmation to the post.
- Though it’s Made in America week, as declared by Trump at the six-month mark, the Carrier Corp. on Thursday acted to kill 338 jobs at its Indianapolis furnace plant, according to local media.
- One billionaire GOP megadonor is urging Republicans in vulgar terms to grow the courage to stand up to Trump, Politico reports.
- Trump put aside his history of abusing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as he wished him well in his fight against brain cancer.