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Trump Looking To Replace Jeff Sessions With Rudy Giuliani?

Trump Giuliani

Reports are circulating this morning that President Trump is eyeing to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuiliani:

President Trump has floated the possibility of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with his steadfast ally Rudy Giuliani to serve in the top Justice Department post, Axios reported Monday.

Trump broached the idea in internal discussions about bringing in and surrounding himself with staunch supporters, sources within the West Wing told the news outlet.

Before The New York Times interview last week, Trump had already expressed anger and frustration at Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, Axios reports.

(…)

Axios reports that Trump regularly considers personnel switch-ups, but doesn’t always act. Pondering about pulling in Guiliani may fall under this umbrella.

The report, however, comes after Trump tapped Anthony Scaramucci to serve as the White House communications director on Friday, leading Sean Spicer to resign as White House press secretary.

This report comes in the context of recent comments that Trump has made about the nation’s top law enforcement officer, who of course was previously a Senator from Alabama who became one of Trump’s top backers among Washington insiders rather early in the campaign. In an interview last week with The New York Times, for example, Trump expressed frustration with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the investigation of Russian interference in the Presidential campaign after it was revealed that he had contacts with the Russian Ambassador to the United States that were previously unreported. That rather odd for anyone else but Trump attack on Sessions had what CNN called a “chilling effect” inside the West Wing and was followed up by a Tweet this morning in which Trump asked why his “beleaguered” Attorney General isn’t investigating Hillary Clinton’s ties to the Russians. As Ben Smith notes in his piece at Axios, there have been many reports about Trump mulling staff changes over the past six months, so it may not necessarily mean anything that he’s talked about bringing someone like Giuliani into the Administration even if it is rather early for such changes to be taking place. Nonetheless, one must wonder at the rather uncomfortable position this puts Sessions in this early in his tenure.

Smith’s report also notes that getting Giuliani confirmed may not be so easy notwithstanding Republican control of the Senate. For one thing, any future candidate for a Justice Department position under this President is likely to face sharp questions from both parties about their relationship with the President and the question of whether they would be loyal to the President or to the law if they to be confirmed. Additionally, many of Giuliani’s own policies as New York Mayor, sich as the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policy, have proven to be controversial in retrospect. There would also likely be scrutiny of Giuliani’s own contacts with Russian officials during the time he was a surrogate for the Trump campaign, to the extent any existed. Any future nominee for Attorney General would also likely face questioning about how they would respond if Trump attempted to order them to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller, or to shut down the Russia investigation altogether. In the end, the odds that Giuliani would be confirmed seem to me to be far less certain than one might assume, a factor which may cause Trump to abandon any plan he may have to replace Sessions in the first place.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Not the IT Dept. says:

    If Rudy gets nominated – HUGE “if” – how many people from NYC would that make in Trump’s cabinet and inner circle?

    Sure is good to know that the Heartland of America isn’t being overlooked in the MAGA government.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  2. CSK says:

    There’s breaking speculation that Tillerson is fed up and may bail, too.

    I’ve wondered if Giuliani wasn’t Trump’s first choice for AG, and Giuliani turned him down. If that’s the case, I’d think Giuliani would refuse a second time. He’s considerably shrewder and far less impetuous than Trump (yeah, I know that’s a very low bar) and knows quite well what a mess he’d be inheriting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  3. Cory says:

    At this point, sure…why the hell not? I mean, really, how much worse can this administration get?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  4. CSK says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    Yeah, and five of them are from Goldman Sachs: Mnuchin, Bannon, Powell, Cohn, and now the Mooch. Didn’t Trump run against these Wall Street types?

    I have a vision of almost everyone in the administration quitting or being fired before year’s end, and Trump turning the WH into a bunker and huddling in it with Ivanka and Jared. Maybe just Ivanka.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  5. CSK says:

    By the way, when asked by the National Law Journal why he accepted a job as Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb said it was because “I have rocks in my head and steel balls.”

    Is he not aware that the expression “having rocks in one’s head” has traditionally meant that one is…stupid?

    Or is he in fact aware of that and is cheerfully admitting that he’s an idiot for signing on with Trump and Co.?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  6. Bob Dowd says:

    Rudy was always my first choice for AG..Sessions is a good guy, but he doesnt have the fight in him like Rudy does

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  7. Bob Dowd says:

    @CSK: AG is the only job Rudy wanted..he is now doing cyber security for Trump on the side however

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  8. Argon says:

    A mentally unhinged nominee? Mr. 9-11 sounds like a shoe-in for this administration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. Gustopher says:

    If we are going back to the 1980s, how about finding a job for Oliver North?

    The State Department is mostly empty. There’s bound to be an open desk that he could occupy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  10. MarkedMan says:

    Not to mention that Rudy Giuliani is almost certainly dirty. Don’t forget he appointed Bernie Kerik as Police Commissioner when he almost certainly knew that Kerik was leading one of the most corrupt Corrections offices of the 20th century. And he doubled down on that by pushing his boy Bernie to be head of Homeland Security. Then to be Police Commissioner of Iraq (!!!). He must have known just how dirty Bernie was because the Rikers Island fiasco was in full blown melt down by then. Bernie was convicted and fined in 2006 but wasn’t actually convicted of jailable offenses until 2010 when he was sentenced to 4 years.

    FWIW, I’m pretty sure Bernie’s Wiki page has been recently scrubbed. All the convictions are still up there, but they have been minimized to a few passing sentences buried in the text.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  11. teve tor says:

    Sessions is an awful, racist, hillbilly shithead. Americans now lose more property to Civil Asset Forfeiture than they do to burglary, and Sessions wants to accelerate that. And a few days ago he said they wanted to crack down on marijuana because it’s “linked to violent crime.” Racist, immoral, and stupid. You know you’re terrible when replacing you with Giuliani is an improvement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  12. MarkedMan says:

    And also FWIW, I had a number of active NYC firemen and policemen as neighbors from 2000 to 2010. And to a one they despised Giuliani and considered him a lying showboat that did nothing but took credit for everything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  13. michael reynolds says:

    My Trump-era axiom:

    Anyone willing to serve in a Trump administration is by definition unfit to serve.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 2

  14. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    At this point, how many people will be willing to serve in a Trump administration, given that he treats his underlings–and they’re all underlings in Trump’s view–like week-old garbage?

    You would, given the current climate of fear and loathing, have to be truly desperate to take a job with this man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  15. SenyorDave says:

    @CSK: I have a vision of almost everyone in the administration quitting or being fired before year’s end, and Trump turning the WH into a bunker and huddling in it with Ivanka and Jared. Maybe just Ivanka.

    If he completely goes off the deep end and thinks he needs to repopulate the world, then its just Ivanka*

    * Although she is getting a little old for Trump, he might have to buy back the Miss Teen USA and start roaming around backstage again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  16. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    You would, given the current climate of fear and loathing, have to be truly desperate to take a job with this man.

    Or be a fifth-columnist. Hmm…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Well, there’s that. Nothing would surprise me at this point.

    The speculation that Tillerson will bail is growing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. Steve V says:

    Is Mark Levin not available?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    LOL. Apparently Guiliani just told reporters that Sessions was right to recuse himself. http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/24/politics/rudy-giuliani-jeff-sessions/index.html

    My guess is this was the only way Rudy saw to get Trump to realize he’s not interested in the poisoned chalice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  20. Franklin says:

    @Gustopher:

    If we are going back to the 1980s, how about finding a job for Oliver North?

    Oh, FFS, don’t even give him the idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @CSK: My take on Tillerson was that he was always about getting the sanctions on Russian oil exploration lifted. Maybe he can see the handwriting on the wall. If so, then why would he stay? So that he can be the guy in the history books who restarted the Korean War? Somehow, I don’t see that as having any appeal to him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  22. DrDaveT says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    My guess is this was the only way Rudy saw to get Trump to realize he’s not interested in the poisoned chalice.

    No no no, the vessel with the pestle has the pellet with the poison. The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  23. MarkedMan says:

    I wouldn’t read too much into Rudy saying Sessions did the correct thing. I don’t have any insight as to whether Giuliani wants the job or not so it certainly may be true that he was trying to wave the Mango Combover off. But I could also imagine a conversation that went like this, “No, Mr. President, given that Sessions worked on your campaign he really had no choice and as long as he’s your AG he’s going to have to continue to recuse. By the way, I never was officially part of your campaign…”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. Slugger says:

    Why would anyone work for Trump? I had a boss once who after a very trying project, took me to lunch at an expensive place; I’d have walked through fire for him. A later boss shifted blame on me in a controversial situation, and I quit that job. Trump simply does not support his guys. He didn’t allow Spicer to meet the Pope, he backed Saudi Arabia on Qatar without telling the SoS, he scorns the AG, he made Priebus lick his boots at that public Cabinet meeting, and there are others that I don’t recall right now. I don’t have any formal training in business just what I figured out by trial and (lots of) error. Is this toxic boss stuff something that MBA programs teach?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  25. grumpy realist says:

    @Slugger: There was a period when CEOs and would-be CEOs thought they had to act like bastards. Probably inspired by all the stories of Steve Jobs. What they all forgot was that Steve Jobs may have been an assh*le, but he also was a stinkin’ genius.

    Luckily, all the above CEOs ended up getting shoved out of the airplane without a parachute by their board of directors.

    Trump has never had to answer to a BOD, and he thinks he’s a genius, so no wonder he thinks he can out assh*le Steve Jobs.

    (If anything else, this shows that Donald Trump is definitely not the reincarnation of Louis XIV. Louis XIV was very much a gentleman.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  26. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Trump has never had to answer to a BOD

    …or to anyone else, with the possible exception of his father.

    That’s the key problem. OF COURSE he’s autocratic; it’s the only mode he has ever operated in throughout his entire life. People who whined about Obama’s “imperial presidency” are now getting a taste of what the real thing looks like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  27. Senyordave says:

    @DrDaveT: People who whined about Obama’s “imperial presidency” are now getting a taste of what the real thing looks like.

    And most of those same people will have no problem with Trump. They identify with a true fascist, plus Trump isn’t like that n***** in the WH that they couldn’t stand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  28. An Interested Party says:

    Rudy was always my first choice for AG..Sessions is a good guy, but he doesnt have the fight in him like Rudy does

    Uh huh…why not replace one bigoted creep with another…

    If we are going back to the 1980s, how about finding a job for Oliver North?
    The State Department is mostly empty. There’s bound to be an open desk that he could occupy.

    I’m sure John Bolton would be a perfect match in this loathsome band of bozos…

    Not to mention that Rudy Giuliani is almost certainly dirty.

    In other words, he’d fit right in the Trump Cabinet…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  29. Pete S says:

    Actually I think Giuliani is a better fit than Sessions as AG. Sessions has terrible policy preferences but they come from being a straightforward racist idealogue. Giuliani has spent his whole career working with corrupt people. He has a much better feel for what the Trump Organization will require from their attorney general.

    And yes, there is at this point no reason to think that Trump would base this decision on what is best for the country even if he had a clue what that was.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  30. Hal_10000 says:

    Giuliani is as bad as Sessions only without the racist baggage. Utterly mindlessly loyal to cops (he even started a riot back in the day). Big drug warrior, pro-surveillance state. Just another thug to run Trump’s DOJ.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  31. MarkedMan says:

    I think you guys are missing the point. If Trump replaces Sessions it will be with someone who has given him his word that he will sabotage any investigation

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  32. Slugger says:

    Further information re my thoughts about Trump’s leadership style. Today, Trump jokingly talked of firing HHS Sec. Tom Price if healthcare votes go the wrong way. Who would accept a job offer from this guy? He blames the nearest person for any failings. Does he ever share credit when things succeed? The people who get appointed to Cabinet level positions are financially comfortable and probably have good sized egos; I expect more turnover.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. SC_Birdflyte says:

    To quote a character from a very forgettable movie, “You’d be makin’ a big mistake.” Rudy is a knife-fighter and if DT subsequently tried to throw him under the bus, Trump himself would wind up being crushed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. CSK says:

    At 3:12 this morning, Trump Tweeted this:

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a very weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server?) & Intel leakers!

    What’s the over/under on Sessions lasting the day?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. CSK says:

    And…his next Tweet accuses Andrew McCabe, the acting head of the FBI, of not going after Hillary because McCabe’s wife got $700,000 from Clinton.

    I’ pretty sure I’m awake–I’ve had breakfast–but…am I dreaming this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  36. teve tory says:

    This morning trump’s attacking Sessions and McCabe.

    Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
    Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign – “quietly working to boost Clinton.” So where is the investigation A.G. @seanhannity
    6:03 AM – 25 Jul 2017
    10,181 10,181 Retweets 33,371 33,371 likes

    Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
    Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!
    6:21 AM – 25 Jul 2017
    12,115 12,115 Retweets 38,117 38,117 likes

    The hypothesis that Trump is a mole to deliberately destroy the GOP is untrue, but not far-fetched.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. CSK says:

    Donnie will be in Youngstown, Ohio tonight hosting a “Make America Great Again” rally.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. CSK says:

    According to the Washington Post, Giuliani and Ted Cruz (another one Trump had in mind to replace Sessions) have indicated that they are not interested in being AG.

    Why would anyone be, except possibly Christie, whose career is over anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. teve tory says:

    The Daily 202: Trump’s pick to run DOJ criminal division worked for Russia bank


    Benczkowski, who helped manage Trump’s transition team for the Justice Department, has signaled that he plans to be evasive when questioned about the specifics of his work for the Putin-linked bank: “(E)thical considerations prohibit me from disclosing confidential legal advice or any other information protected by the attorney-client privilege under any circumstances,” he wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    seriously, how long will shitheads keep defending this bullshit?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @teve tory: I would guess until people on the left stop venting about it. Remember, part (most?) of the satisfaction Trump is giving his supporters consists of their joy in the anger of others. On the other hand, ceasing the anger allows the outrages to lapse into obscurity. Welcome to Hobson’s Choiceville.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Trump would never be so stupid* as to appoint Christie. At this point Christie’s one possible road to political redemption is to tell Trump whatever he wants to hear and then go after him and his corrupt co-conspirators like a deranged bull dog when he gets the office. If he can be remembered as the one man who brought down a corrupt president he has a shot.

    *Bear in mind that I’m also the one that said Trump would never be so stupid as to accept the Republican nomination because of the incredible legal scrutiny it would bring to his finances. So take my pronouncements with a boulder or two of salt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0