Mainstream Media Just Missed That Jeff Sessions Is Blatantly Violating His Recusal
Attorney General Jeff Sessions can't stop meddling in matters that violate his recusal for conflict of interest.
I previously covered how Sessions' involvement in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe appears to have violated his pledge to recuse himself from all Justice Department matters related to the 2016 campaign. Now, Sessions announced that he's assigned a prosecutor to specifically investigate the FBI's conduct during the campaign in what would appear to be another clear violation of his recusal.
Surprisingly, most outlets didn't emphasize the brazen nature of Sessions' refusal to abide by his own recusal. Instead, headlines at CNN, the New York Times and NPR all emphasized the fact that Sessions is not appointing a special counsel.
But the obsession with a special counsel—driven by calls from Republican lawmakers—is ridiculous. As Sessions notes, a special counsel is only needed in "extraordinary circumstance," such as when the president himself is the subject of an investigation. The reason Republican lawmakers want a special counsel to investigate the FBI is that it would help make the case that the allegations against the bureau are at least as serious the allegations against the Trump team.
This is nothing short of gratuitous politicization of law enforcement.
It may be true that the FBI should have a dedicated investigation of its own conduct during the campaign—certainly, questions about the bureau's decisions have been raised on both sides of the aisle. But the fact that Sessions, who was deeply involved in Trump's campaign, appointed the prosecutor to look into the matter completely taints the issue.
Why not let Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who is, after all, a Trump appointee) oversee any decisions on this matter? Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation to oversee the Russia probe, and Sessions has rightly been kept out of any decisions about it.
Sessions should be removed from investigations of the FBI that are in any way tied to the campaign, but he's proven no interest in upholding the spirit of his recusal.