Donald Trump is right: Jeff Sessions’ recusal a mistake

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In Feb. 2016, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions did the unexpected — he sidestepped the establishment and threw his support behind Donald Trump.

It was Sessions’ reputation and early loyalty ultimately earned him Trump’s U.S. Attorney General appointment. Trump saw Sessions as a leader, an honorable man worthy of a top-tier Cabinet position. Very few disagreed with the appointment and those who did cite half-baked facts or out and out lies regarding his impeccable record.

Sessions, to Trump, was someone who put a lot on the line to be an early supporter and someone he thought he could continue to count on to have his back.

Imagine his disappointment when Sessions recused himself the Russia investigation.

In an interview with The New York Times, President Donald Trump said he thought it was “very unfair” that Attorney General Jeff Sessions accepted his appointment without warning him that he would recuse himself from the ongoing Russian investigation.

Trump was right about Sessions’ recusal. It wasn’t the right thing to do. The easiest way to explain his actions is “feeding the trolls,” and Sessions’ and his team should know better than that.

Jeff Sessions is an honorable man. He has proved through a career in public service his commitment to truth, honesty, integrity.

The Russian investigation is a classic witch hunt in every sense of the word. The media and the Democrats are using it as a dog whistle to take attention away from the agenda and accomplishments of the president.

Let’s revisit what led Sessions to his recusal:

During his Jan. 10, 2017 confirmation hearing, Minnesota-Democrat Senator Al Franken, asked what Sessions would do if “there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign.”

Sessions replied frankly, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

Then on Jan. 17, 2017, as reported by The Washington Post, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, asked Sessions in a written questionnaire whether he had been “in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after Election Day.”

Sessions responded with one word: “No.”

Despite pushback from the Left, Sessions was confirmed on Feb. 8.

Fast-forward to the evening of March 1, when Sessions found himself yet again being questioned about whether he had any ties to Russia.

“I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign,” he said in a statement. “I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

Nevertheless, less than 24 hours later, despite the denials that any of his conversations with Russian officials were related to the presidential campaign, Sessions recused himself from any current or future investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Sessions let the media bully him into recusal. He allowed their baseless accusations dictate his actions. He handed them a win they didn’t deserve.

Rather than standing up and being the honorable man Trump, and America, needed him to be he took the easy way out. No doubt, he did what he thought he had to in order to escape further scrutiny, but that still doesn’t make it a good decision.

What I wish Sessions had done instead of recusing himself was take the tough tone that he later took with the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 13, 2017, where he said:

“Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign,” Sessions said. “The suggestion that I participated in any collusion or that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie.”

“I recused myself from any investigation into the campaign for president, but I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations.”

With that fire in his belly and the truth on his side, he should have stood strong and not recuse himself to start with.

Edmund Burke famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Rather than allowing the critics and conspiracy theorists to triumph with the recusal of a good man, an honest man, Trump and our nation needed for him to be fully involved in this investigation.

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