Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, testified before a Senate Intelligence Committee panel yesterday. The hearing, which was intended to answer questions surrounding a number of topics, yielded significantly less than it could have.
Throughout the hearing Sessions appeared harassed and tired. The Attorney General continuously avoided answering questions, citing Justice Department practice to protect confidential communications with the president. This made the hearing quite frustrating to watch.
Some members of the committee came prepared for an all out assault, and proceeded with a relatively aggressive approach. Needless to say, Sessions’ evasiveness did not elicit a positive response. Sessions was even accused of “stonewalling” by Democratic Senator, Ron Wyden. This was a charge that he emphatically denied.
The testimony raises many further questions, few of which are likely to have answers beneficial to the beleaguered Trump administration. It also reveals some of the administration’s glaring weaknesses. It seems, even more so now than a few days ago, that the president has cultivated an environment conducive to waxing incompetence.
Among the most important of the hearing were Sessions’ answers to questions about the Russia investigation. Last week former FBI Director James Comey provided testimony about his interactions with the president before he was fired. Sessions confronted questions about Comey evasively.
When asked by Sen. Feinstein about the actual reasoning behind Comey’s termination he asserted that what Trump said, specifically that he already intended to fire Comey regardless of the recommendations for termination that were asked for, should speak for itself.
He personally stated that he felt a “fresh start” at the FBI, “was the appropriate thing to do.” Sessions’ testimony did little to convince anyone that the president fired Comey for any other reason than an intent to obstruct. Sen. Feinstein’s question still remains without an adequate answer: What was the point of the advice provided to the president?
He was also vague on the Russia problem, alluding to a somewhat bumbling and disinterested approach by the administration. This was not reassuring, especially since another major focus of the hearing was Sessions’ own involvement with Russian officials.
The Trump administration is toxic. It is slowly poisoning those who have chosen to join its ranks, like Jeff Sessions. Whatever the eventual outcome of this scandal is, Sessions is likely to be worse off for electing to serve as Attorney General. This likelihood is an awful omen for the president.