Sen. Ben Sasse: AG Jeff Sessions Should Not Be Fired for Refusing to Be ‘a Political Hack’ for Trump

Melanie Arter | August 24, 2018 | 10:46am EDT
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Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) (Screenshot)

( - In a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) spoke out in defense of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been criticized by President Donald Trump, and urged the president not to fire Sessions.

“I rise today to speak to the issue of the leadership of the Department of Justice. It has been a strange couple of hours around this building - lots and lots of goofy talk about firing the attorney general - and I just would like to say in public what I’ve been saying to my colleagues in a message that I just communicated to the president of the United States,” Sasse said.

Sasse said “it would be a very, very, very bad idea” to fire Sessions “because he’s not executing his job as a political hack.”

“That is not the job of the attorney general,” the senator said. “The attorney general’s job is to be faithful to the Constitution and to the rule of law. Jeff Sessions just had to issue a statement about two hours ago, which I would like to read.”

Sessions’ statement read: “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States. I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law.”

Sasse said it’s Sessions’ job not to be influenced by politics.

“The attorney general is a man who, when he served in this body, would have policy disputes with probably all 99 of us or all 100 of us now, but the 99 people he served alongside. There are a bunch of issues where I agree with Jeff Sessions on policy. There are some issues where I disagree with Jeff Sessions on policy. The Democrats disagree with Jeff Sessions on lots of policy, but I think everybody in this body knows that Jeff Sessions has been executing his job in a way faithful to his oath of office, to the Constitution, and trying to defend the rule of law,” Sasse said.

The senator said the attorney general’s statement that the DOJ “is filled with honorable, dispassionate career prosecutors, who execute their job in ways that the American people should be proud of is indisputably true.”

“What he said is something that basically everybody in this body knows and agrees with, and yet, bizarrely, there are people in this body now talking like the attorney general will be fired, should be fired,” Sasse said.

The senator said he finds it hard to see “any circumstance” where he would vote for Sessions’ successor if the attorney general is fired for not being “a partisan hack.”

“I’m not sure how to interpret the comments of the last couple of hours, but I guess I would just like to say as a member of the Judiciary Committee and as a member of this body, I find it really difficult to envision any circumstance where I would vote to confirm a successor to Jeff Sessions if he is fired, because he’s executing his job rather than choosing to act as a partisan hack,” Sasse said.

“I think everybody in this body knows that Jeff Sessions is doing his job honorably, and the attorney general of the United States should not be fired for acting honorably and for being faithful to the rule of law,” he added.

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