Key Republican senators have warned the White House that the president could be waiting indefinitely for a new attorney general if he tosses out their former colleague. Still, President Trump could call the Senate’s bluff.
President Trump’s renewed public attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions raise the question of why does’t Trump just fire him? Part of the answer can be found in the U.S. Senate, where key Republicans have warned the White House that the president could be waiting indefinitely for a new attorney general if he tosses out their former colleague, USA Today reports. Sessions served 20 years as a senator from Alabama and was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would lead the confirmation process for a new attorney general. Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) says that given the busy schedules of the panel and the Senate, “it would be difficult to confirm an AG nominee this year.” It’s enough to make Trump and his advisers stop and think twice about firing Sessions, said political scientist Frances Lee of the University of Maryland. “I think it’s a constraint on the White House,” she said. “There have been a lot of signals to the president that senators think Sessions should stay in his job.”
Sessions was a congenial senator that other senators liked, even when they didn’t agree with his extremely conservative views, said Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University. Senators are also pushing back against Trump to defend the institution of the Senate itself, said Eric Herzik, chairman of the political science department at the University of Nevada, Reno. “You have some older, more established adults in the Senate — like Chuck Grassley, John McCain and Lindsey Graham — who recognize the institutional importance of the Senate serving as a check on the president,” Herzik said. Still, “The Senate’s support has protected Sessions, but Trump could turn on a dime and call the Senate’s bluff,” he said.