November 7, 2018

Jeff Sessions’ Firing is All About the Russia Investigation


Washington, D.C. — American Constitution Society President Caroline Fredrickson issued the following statement about Jeff Sessions' firing:

"Jeff Sessions’ departure is all about the Russia investigation. The President’s firing of him is a clear maneuver to eventually obstruct or end Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible illegal activities by his campaign, while we are still distracted by the election results.

"We must all remember that the Mueller investigation has, already, uncovered numerous crimes by people close to the President. His one-time campaign manager is in jail. Numerous others connected to the Trump campaign have pleaded guilty to lying about improper contacts with the Russian government. Dozens more have been indicted. The President, clearly, fears the evidence trail is leading in his direction, so he is working to obstruct the investigation.

"With Sessions gone, the President, now, turns to Matthew Whitaker to serve as Acting Attorney General, who he, no doubt, chose because Whitaker would do the President's bidding. He would either move to eventually dismiss Special Counsel Mueller or starve the investigation of money, staff, and authority, until it dies. Whitaker could have enormous power to approve new investigative avenues, budget requests, and all manners of logistics about how the probe is conducted. He could work to end the investigation, and the American people would, largely, never see it happen. None other than Nixon’s own Acting Attorney General, Robert Bork, issued an order, in 1973, protecting the independence of the new Watergate Special Prosecutor investigation, after Nixon fired the first Special Prosecutor to look into his crimes. President Trump’s looming interference in the Russia investigation has many similarities to the Watergate scandal, and Bork’s call for an independent probe, insulated from political interference, should serve as a precedent for Whitaker’s actions going forward, regarding the Mueller investigation."

"It is time for every member of Congress who claimed it unnecessary to pass legislation to protect the Mueller investigation—amidst ridiculous claims that the President would never move to end the probe—to take a good, hard look in the mirror. Today, the American President took blatant steps to obstruct justice; will Congress let him get away with it?"

Contact: ACS Media Relations Director Cara Philbin (202) 741-0701; cphilbin@acslaw.org

The American Constitution Society (ACS), founded in 2001 and one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations, is a rapidly growing network of lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers, and other concerned individuals dedicated to making the law a force to improve lives of all people. For more information about the organization or to locate one of the more than 200 lawyer and law student chapters in 48 states, please visit www.acslaw.org.