Facing enormous public pressure, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sued the state of California over its failures to comply with federal immigration laws, promised to begin the process of releasing additional documents from Operation Fast and Furious, the Obama Administration’s gunwalking scandal, and addressed calls for him to appoint a second special counsel to investigate the Obama Administration’s surveillance of the Trump campaign – all in the last 24 hours.
Sessions’ decision to sue California, which he announced today in a speech to California law enforcement, seems to be something the Department of Justice had been preparing for quite a while, considering the scope of the allegations in the lawsuit, which lays out various efforts Democrats in public offices all throughout the state have taken to undermine federal immigration law. In his speech, however, Sessions reserved his harshest criticism for Libby Schaaf, the Mayor of Oakland who used Twitter to tip off illegal immigrants ahead of an ICE raid last week, asking her: “How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical, open borders agenda?” Schaaf’s tip, which likely allowed hundreds of illegal immigrants to avoid capture (including some who have sex crime convictions of their records), predictably sparked outrage from conservatives, some of whom pressured Sessions to criminally prosecute the rogue mayor.
Similarly, Sessions’ choice to provide the House Oversight Committee with more documents from the Obama Administration’s “Fast and Furious” scandal seems to have been in response to recent public pressure from conservatives. On March 3rd, former House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) revealed that when he was leading the Committee’s investigation into the Obama Administration’s handling of the secret program, Sessions had refused to provide him the documents:
I met with AG Sessions to get the Fast & Furious documents. He said NO and decided to let it continue to play out in court. Frustrating and disappointing to say the least. @realDonaldTrump #FastAndFurious https://t.co/0rRaSAskC8
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) March 3, 2018
Furthermore, Sessions finally addressing the prospect a second special counsel also follows intense public pressure from various conservative leaders. Last week, 13 members of the House GOP wrote Sessions a letter requesting he appoint one to investigate Hillary Clinton. Yesterday, their concerns were added to in a separate letter demanding a special counsel to investigate the FBI authored by Congressmen Trey Gowdy and Bob Goodlatte, who chair the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, respectively. Moreover, President Trump has repeatedly expressed frustration with Sessions’ apparent unwillingness to investigate both Hillary Clinton and the FBI for various potential criminal acts.
Sessions’ actions today are a certainly a good sign, as it seems the once-promising Sessions, who is one of just a few true Trump loyalists in the President’s Cabinet, has a renewed sense of urgency. However, it remains to be seen whether these developments lead to anything concrete, and if they are going to, it is also unclear how much more time Sessions has before President Trump and his base run out of patience.
Stay tuned for more.
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