Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Opinion | How the Firing of Jeff Sessions Affects the Mueller Inquiry

To the Editor:

Re “Trump Replaces Sessions With a Loyalist; Vows ‘Warlike’ Stance on House Inquiries” (front page, Nov. 8):

The firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as his replacement have brought this nation to the threshold of a constitutional crisis. Mr. Whitaker has said publicly, on multiple occasions, that the Mueller investigation was close to crossing a red line and should be curtailed. He has also defended Donald Trump Jr.’s taking a meeting with Russians who offered to provide dirt about Hillary Clinton. Ethical standards would mandate that Mr. Whitaker recuse himself from any role in overseeing the Mueller investigation.

That is not going to happen. While Mr. Whitaker may be foreclosed by law from firing Mr. Mueller without good cause, he is likely to claim falsely the existence of such cause. Alternatively, Mr. Whitaker will move to impede Mr. Mueller and ensure that his findings never see the light of day.

The response to this unfolding outrage must be immediate and robust. Congress must enact protective legislation. The soon-to-be chairmen of the House Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee should instruct Mr. Mueller to deliver his findings to their committees. Mr. Mueller must share his work product with the United States attorneys having jurisdiction over the subject matter of his investigation.

Meanwhile, all respecters of the Constitution and the rule of law must take to the streets, en masse, to protest any attempt to subvert the critical work of the special counsel.

Gerald Harris
New York
The writer is a former prosecutor and a retired New York City Criminal Court judge.

To the Editor:

No one is surprised by Jeff Sessions’s firing. In the wake of any unfavorable story, President Trump inevitably drops a bomb to distract attention. On Tuesday, voters stripped his party of control of the House. On Wednesday, he attacks a CNN reporter and sacks his attorney general. Mission accomplished.

Mr. Sessions’s replacement is a man who seems likely to quash the investigation that has Mr. Trump so worried. This amounts to obstruction of justice.

The media and honest Americans in the Justice Department must focus on this for the good of the country. So should any Republican in Congress who refuses to condone criminal behavior — if there are any such people left. We need leaders who will love their country more than they love power.

Howard Schmitt
Green Tree, Pa.

To the Editor:

Much as I hate to say it, the Democrats may be getting trumped by President Trump. He may do things that are unethical, unorthodox, unbelievable, but at the same time he may be smarter in his own way than we give him credit for.

He wants the Democrats to obsess about the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions so that they concentrate on the Mueller investigation instead of trying to get some meaningful legislation through Congress. If the Democrats spend all their time trying to get the president, they will only make it more difficult for themselves to win in 2020.

The Democrats should concentrate on getting an infrastructure bill passed, getting an immigration bill through the House, going after the pharmaceutical industry and other matters that are meaningful to Americans. Let the president trap himself with his devious moves.

A frustrated Democrat.

Robert Apter
Ardsley, N.Y.

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