Republican senator warns of ‘holy hell to pay’ if Trump fires Sessions
ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham warned on Thursday that there would be “holy hell to pay” if President Donald Trump fires U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“This effort to, basically, marginalize and humiliate the attorney general is not going over well in the Senate,” Graham told reporters on Thursday. “I don’t think it’s going over well in the conservative world. … If Jeff Sessions is fired, there will be holy hell to pay.”
The South Carolina senator also pointed out that “any effort to go after” special counsel Robert Mueller “could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong.”
Graham, a Senate Judiciary Committee member, stressed that there would be no confirmation hearing for a new attorney general in 2017 and that Trump should respect Sessions as a person who “deserves better.”
Graham’s warning partly echoed Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who subtly critiqued Trump on Twitter Wednesday morning, saying the Judiciary Committee is focusing for the rest of the year on judges first and sub-cabinet nominees second — and not any attorney general nominee.
Everybody in D.C. Shld b warned that the agenda for the judiciary Comm is set for rest of 2017. Judges first subcabinet 2nd / AG no way
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) July 27, 2017
Senators such as Graham and Grassley have backed Sessions as Trump jabbed him this week for being “weak” on the Clinton email investigation and for not “firing” Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was closely tied to former FBI Director James Comey.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said to ABC News on Wednesday, “Well, I’m a little bit surprised at some of the reported comments. Jeff has been very loyal to the president, and I think that he deserves loyalty back.”
The Trump-Sessions tension gained steam July 19 when the president told the New York Times that he was disappointed that Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation, leaving the power to appoint a special counsel to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein appointed Mueller, who Trump said in the interview “should never have been appointed.”
Graham reiterated his support for Mueller’s continuation of the Russia investigation, saying he has no “reason” to think that Mueller is compromised. Graham warned that he would be introducing a bill next week that prevents the special counsel from getting fired when “empanelled to investigate the president” unless there is judicial review of the firing.
“The idea that the president would fire Mueller or have somebody fire Mueller because he doesn’t like Mueller or Mueller is doing something he doesn’t like, then we have become Russia,” Graham said. “So the red line should never be drawn. … No president can do that.”
Graham added that the “president is not in the business of drawing red lines when it comes to the law” and said he hoped Trump would “calm down” to work together on Afghanistan, taxes and health care instead.
When Rosenstein appointed Mueller on May 17, Trump took a defensive stance, saying a thorough investigation will confirm “no collusion” with Russia and that he wanted to “fight back.” Mueller resigned from law firm WilmerHale, which boasts clients such as adviser to the president Jared Kushner.
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