Jeff Sessions resigned as attorney general on Wednesday, after almost 18 months of President Trump’s fuming over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. And critics of the Mueller probe are neither surprised nor sad to see him go.
“We knew it was going to happen said former federal prosecutor and Justice Department official Victoria Toensing.
Sessions released his resignation letter, saying how proud he was of progress in enforcing immigration laws, reducing violent crime, enforcing gun laws, and more. Toensing says Sessions did some things very well but his decision to recuse himself tainted his time atop the Justice Department.
“Those were Jeff’s bread and butter issues. He believed in them deeply. But he was just like a scared rabbit in dealing with anything to do with the Russia investigation,” said Toensing.
She hopes Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is next.
“Jeff has not been able to be a good attorney general because of his recusal. Now, that’s a different situation than Rod Rosenstein has. He’s just been evil in what he’s done in appointing a special counsel when there was not even a crime and staying there and overseeing it when he had conflicts,” said Toensing.
Toensing rebuts the notion that Sessions recused himself because he failed to mention contacts with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign. Sessions saw the ambassador in his role as a senator at the time and not in his capacity within the Trump campaign.
Matt Whittaker, who had been chief of staff to Sessions, will serve as acting attorney general until a new one is confirmed. He will oversee the Mueller probe instead of Rosenstein. Toensing rolls her eyes at the notion Whittaker should be forced to recuse himself because of a few opinions he’s expressed that are critical of the Mueller investigation.
“Is that a joke?” asked Toensing, noting Whittaker’s only public comment was that Mueller ought to come back for permission to expand his investigation if he went beyond the bounds established by Rosenstein.
Listen to the full podcast to hear more of Toensing’s comments on Sessions, her reaction to liberals comparing the firing to Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” and what she wants to see in the next attorney general.