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Donald Trump’s Ideal Attorney General Is This Random Fox News Anchor

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Donald Trump’s Ideal Attorney General Is This Random Fox News Anchor

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Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

 

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III may be on his way out. The former senator who was one of the first converts to President Donald Trump’s cause has lost his favor after properly recusing himself over the Russia investigation. And the president isn’t shy about it — he’s been publicly demeaning Sessions on Twitter for not prosecuting Hillary Clinton for her “crimes” and sending out incoming communications director Anthony Scaramucci to suggest that the president wants him gone.

The possible removal of the nation’s top law enforcement officer because he has not prosecuted the president’s former political rival is deeply troubling and points to Trump’s authoritarian tendencies. But it also shows that the president is trapped in a right-wing media feedback loop.

As has been the case with many of the president’s Twitter rages, his most recent attack on the attorney general seems to have come in response to a Fox News segment, in this case one defending the president over the Russia investigation. The president constantly consumes the network’s propagandistic defenses of his conduct. That seems to inexorably push him to behave as if the alternate reality Fox is depicting is the real one. And then Fox has to scramble to find a way to defend the new indiscretion.

The president has come to believe the legal arguments that Fox has been making to defend him — that he has done nothing wrong with regard to Russia, that Clinton is the true criminal, that special counsel Robert Mueller has conflicts of interest and should be fired. With Trump’s behavior already scaring off potential Sessions successors, it would be plausible — and consistent with his TV-based rationale for recent hires — for him to nominate as attorney general someone he has watched make those arguments on television.

If Trump wants an attorney general who will defend every aspect of his behavior with regard to Russia while using the power of the Department of Justice to persecute his political foes, he should look no further than Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett. While it’s unlikely that Jarrett would actually be the pick, he has been providing a model for the type of behavior Trump would want from an attorney general.

A former attorney who spent years as an anchor for COURT TV, Jarrett has been an anchor for Fox since 2002. Usually a low-profile news anchor, Jarrett has in recent days emerged as the network’s leading legal defender of the president regarding the Russia probe. Jarrett makes regular appearances on Hannity and other programs to put forward legally dubious explanations of why the Trump team’s actions have been legally acceptable while the president’s opponents and investigators have broken the law.

Jarrett’s defenses of the president have ticked all the boxes. He’s repeatedly said that even if the president or his team colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, they wouldn’t have broken any laws. That’s false, but as far as Trump is concerned, it’s an improvement from Sessions, who has said such collusion would be “improper and illegal.” When news broke that the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. had set up a meeting with Russians interested in influencing the election, Jarrett scoffed.

After Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, many legal experts said it appeared to be textbook obstruction of justice. Not Jarrett, who claimed that Comey “deserved to be fired” and that “it should have happened a long time ago.” After it emerged that Trump had asked Comey to shut down the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Jarrett found a way to defend that too.

But Trump doesn’t just want an attorney general who will defend his actions — he wants one who will attack his enemies. Here, too, Jarrett’s spin has been exceptional. Hillary Clinton? Jarrett wants a special prosecutor to review the emails case. James Comey? Jarrett wrote that his interactions with the president showed that Comey had obstructed justice. Robert Mueller? Jarrett wrote that Mueller’s relationship with Comey is a disqualifying conflict of interest and called for his removal. Jarrett has even said that Mueller and Comey “may be acting in collusion to get the president” and called for the president to get an injunction to stop the special counsel investigation if it starts to pursue his finances.

There are, of course, some downsides to a Jarrett pick. He has never served as a prosecutor or in public service, nor has he ever led a large bureaucracy, of course, but since when has Trump cared about typical qualifications? The bigger problem is that Sessions’ bigotry and his anti-immigrant stance have made him a beloved figure among a big chunk of Trump’s base. His efforts to punish immigrants have led to some of the administration’s few policy accomplishments. Jarrett claiming that he frequently experiences microaggressions as a white man doesn’t really rate, though his attacks on sanctuary cities are promising. And pushing through a nominee who is on the record making these claims might be too much for even Senate Republicans to stomach.

While Jarrett probably won’t be Trump’s pick if he dynamites convention and fires Sessions, it is clear that the president expects this sort of behavior from an attorney general. Just as the obsequious support of Sean Hannity and the hosts of Fox & Friends represent Trump’s model for how journalists should behave, people like Jarrett are what he expects from a government lawyer. When all you know about the government comes from watching Fox News, Fox News becomes your model for how the government should work.

Header image by Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

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12 Comments

  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 26, 2017

    Is there no end to the effluvium gushing from FOX—an unpleasant and noxious smelling mess that Donald strangely loves to inhale, as though it were a rose??? Trump’s infatuation with being flattered by FOX, the Alt-Right, and his Administration, is legend and continues unabated. The man is headed for a dreadful and fiery ending, in some way or another.

    Reply
    1. dbtheonly July 27, 2017

      No, there is no end.

      Trump’s infatuation is neither surprising nor bizarre. Trump’s narcissism may well demand his attention be directed to the place he receives the love, honor, and respect he knows he deserves.

      Reply
      1. Eleanore Whitaker July 27, 2017

        And what place would that be? The sewers in front of Trump Tower on 5th Avenue. rofl.

        Reply
        1. dbtheonly July 27, 2017

          No, Fox’s studios are in NYC. Avenue of the Americas if memory serves, but you’re local & I’ll defer to you.

          Reply
          1. Eleanore Whitaker July 27, 2017

            Right. Avenue of the Americas. Trump Tower is on 5th Avenue much to the disgust of Chanel, Gucci and Cartier who are Trump Tower neighbors.

            I have every confidence that since our patriots of the American Revolution beat hell out of the Brits, Spanish, French and Hessians, Trump represents far less a threat.

            Reply
          2. dbtheonly July 27, 2017

            Ms. E, the French & Spanish were on our side in 1780.

            Disagree on the Trump threat level. Against the Kaiser, against Hitler, against Hirohito, we were united, Americans vs. Even Lindbergh put away his Nazi medals. Trump turns American against American. That’s a threat America may not be able to handle.

            Reply
          3. Eleanore Whitaker July 28, 2017

            I was not referring solely to 1780. As for Trump, he is doing Putin’s finely crafted handiwork: To unravel the US government.

            Look at who Trump appoints. Not a single one of them has remotely any government or Constitutional knowledge or experience.

            Putin’s idea always has been to unravel democracy around the world. That goes back to the Russian history of revolution since Genghis Khan.

            Now that the House 20 have sent letters demanding an investigation of Hillary, AG Lynch and Comey, we see that these 20 have incriminated themselves by trying to take the focus off their own complicity in the Russian hacking. They knew and did nothing because it was to their advantage not to.

            One thing is certain. There will never be another CEO, billionaire or Republican in the White House for a very long time.

            The Republican Party and their Mutton Chops and Corn Pones have proven one thing: They stick together even when they know what they are doing is wrong by world standards.

            Reply
  2. Eleanore Whitaker July 27, 2017

    The longer Trump keeps up his CEO act of tyranny, the worse his crimes against the Constitution become. There is NO way he can turn the clock back now. He has boxed himself in and only Moscow calling can save him.

    It amuses me that Trump knew so little about those backwater corn pones and mutton chops that he would dare to double cross one of them (Sessions). If the Confederate boys in the Senate are nothing, they are super glued together when it comes to one of their own. Big Big Big mistake for Trump to try and take Sessions down.

    The even bigger fun for me is watching Trump trying to force Sessions to resign. Does he not know that Sessions will never do that? Does he not realize that if he fires him that is precisely what Sessions and his Confederate cronies want?

    Now, the Dems with the shadowy approval of the GOP are refusing to place the Senate in recess. Meaning…so long as the Senate does not recess even if no one is on the floor, Trump is prevented from making appointments. No recess? No recess appointments.

    Trump thinks like all bullies do, he has ALL the answers. This is one he cannot win. What he will do now is the ultimate Constitutional Crisis…if he has to bring Putin into it, he will.

    Reply
  3. The lucky one July 27, 2017

    The removal of the pompous racist Sessions would be a good thing though as is typical with Trump even when he does the right thing it is for the wrong reasons. The reasons Sessions should be removed are the very reasons Trump chose him in the first place.

    Reply
  4. Richard Prescott July 27, 2017

    Trump’s ideal AG is Wormtongue. You know who this is if you followed the Lord of the Rings (second movie).

    Reply
    1. Beethoven July 29, 2017

      Good observation. Maybe we should start calling Fox News the “Wormtongue Network.”

      Reply
      1. Richard Prescott July 29, 2017

        🙂

        Reply

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