Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas on Wednesday took a stand in support of the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers when he said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not have the legal authority to stop the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.
“Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said Sessions doesn’t have the authority to end the probe but added the “President is entitled to speak his mind.”
Cornyn’s comments are given great weight in Washington because not only is he the Senate Majority Whip but he is also the former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
Cornyn’s comments came after yesterday’s shocking tweet from President Donald Trump telling Sessions to stop the federal Russia investigation.
“At this point, I don’t think the attorney general has any authority to do that,” Cornyn told reporters shortly after Trump fired off his tweet where he told Sessions to “stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now.”
Cornyn and other senators were clearly taken aback by the president’s comments, which were totally unexpected.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning:
“This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further,” the president wrote. “Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”
..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
Cornyn mentioned that Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation last year, which led to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein being put in charge of the Russia probe. After former FBI Director James Comey was fired by Trump, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel. Sessions has been out of the picture ever since that time.
But from the very beginning Trump has criticized the special counsel investigation. He attacked Mueller and the probe again on Wednesday, the second day of the criminal trial of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Cornyn told reporters that he understands Trump’s “frustration,” saying:
“The president feels like the media has missed a lot of what he considers to be the real collusion, that is between law enforcement agencies and people showing bias at the FBI and investigating people at the Trump campaign, and the focus has been all on him and his campaign where there’s no evidence of collusion.”
Still, Cornyn said that Sessions, a former GOP senator from Alabama, “really doesn’t have any power to stop the Manafort prosecution – it’s in court, the jury’s been selected, so it’s going forward.”
GOP Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah also gave his opinion that Sessions has no power to stop Mueller’s investigation. “I don’t think Sessions has the authority to do that,” he said. “I don’t fully get what the president is trying to do.” He then said that ending the probe is “not a wise thing to do.”
GOP Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he thinks Mueller’s investigation should be completed. “I don’t think the Mueller probe ought to be ended,” he told reporters. “I think it ought to be completed.”
At the end of the day Donald Trump’s tweets have no effect other than to create publicity for himself and to distract from his bigger legal and political problems, and yesterday’s shocking tweets were no exception.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.