Sessions Out -- and CNN’s Acosta Locked Out
A nation’s tumultuous day.
The day after the midterm elections, President Trump forced Jeff Sessions out as attorney general, revoked the White House media credentials of CNN’s most obnoxious correspondent, Jim Acosta, after a spirited presser, and offered his reflections on his party retaining control of the Senate but losing control of the House to Democrats.
In the new Congress that will be meet in the new year, Republicans will control at least 54 of the Senate’s 100 seats, a net gain of three. Democrats were poised to have around a 12-member majority in the House of Representatives though that figure could change.
But Sessions, who was Trump’s first endorser in the Senate in early 2016 and who gave up his safe Senate seat in Alabama to become his attorney general, won’t be around to run the Department of Justice and deal with the flood of subpoenas congressional committees controlled by House Democrats are expected to issue in a variety of new, vexatious congressional probes of the president.
One of those investigations will come out of the House Judiciary Committee that deranged leftist Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is expected to take over. Nadler vows to launch, among other things, impeachment proceedings against the newly-installed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. When they take control of the House of Representatives Jan. 3, Democrats plan to investigate President Trump’s tax filings, financial dealings, and their bizarre electoral collusion conspiracy theory.
President Trump announced Sessions’ departure at 2:44 p.m. on Wednesday in two tweets after a White House press conference wrapped up.
“We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well….”
A few seconds later he tweeted:
….We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.
It is unclear if Sessions knew he was going to be ousted yesterday but President Trump hasn’t made a secret of his displeasure with the nation’s top law enforcement officer. The fact that Sessions has done a fine job on cracking down on illegal immigration, so-called sanctuary cities, and international crime organizations such as MS-13, didn’t save him.
“Sessions is almost certainly the single most effective implementer of Trump’s vision in the entire administration,” ACLU national legal director David Cole grudgingly acknowledged previously. “No cabinet member has been more diligent and single-minded in pursuing Trump’s policies.”
Trump has never forgiven Sessions for recusing himself from an investigation into the still-uncorroborated Russian electoral collusion conspiracy theory pushed by unbalanced, dishonest leftists. This recusal led to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein launching Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia-Trump probe that has never produced even a scintilla of evidence demonstrating Trump campaign collusion – which isn’t actually a crime – with Russians over the 2016 election.
Trump’s appointment of Whitaker prompted horrified left-wingers to protest he might oversee the out-of-control Mueller investigation, as an attorney general is supposed to do.
Prominent Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who, in January will be presiding over an even smaller minority, tried to intimidate Whitaker into not doing his job.
“Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general,” Schumer said.
Attempts by Whitaker or Trump to tamper with the Mueller probe would cause a “constitutional crisis,” he added.
Before he joined the Justice Department, Whitaker wrote in an op-ed at CNN’s website that “investigating the finances of Trump and his family” and business conducted by the Trump Organization, “goes beyond the scope” of Mueller’s appointment.
Whitaker wrote that Mueller should be limited to looking into “matters that involved any potential links to and coordination between two entities – the Trump campaign and the Russian government,” and that Trump family finances fall outside the special counsel’s jurisdiction.
After an unusually lively press conference at the White House Wednesday, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta had his White House media credentials suspended for interfering with a female White House staffer who was trying to retrieve a microphone from him at a press conference. Acosta was ousted for “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
She called the behavior “absolutely unacceptable.”
Acosta had been accosting Trump over immigration issues and the caravans of would-be immigrants moving toward the U.S. border from Central America.
Trump called on Acosta who challenged him over his characterization of one of the caravans as an “invasion.”
“As you know, Mr. President, the caravan was not an invasion. It’s a group of migrants moving up from Central America towards the border with the U.S.,” Acosta said.
Trump said, he considered it “an invasion,” adding that, “you and I have a difference of opinion.”
Acosta continued pressing, asking Trump if he “demonized immigrants in this election.” Trump rejected the claim and said, “I want them to come into the country, but they have to come in legally. You know, they have to come in, Jim, through a process. I want it to be a process.”
The back-and-forth continued a few moments after which Trump called on another questioner from the media.
Acosta, who seems to think he can monopolize White House press conferences with question after question when others are waiting in line, refused to hand over the microphone to the intern.
“I think you should — honestly, I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN … and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better.”
Acosta said he wanted to “ask one other question,” but Trump insisted on moving on.
The rest is now history. CNN and the White House Correspondents’ Association are now portraying Acosta as a free speech martyr instead of an egomaniacal brat who doesn’t know when to shut up.
Also at the presser, President Trump said Democrats’ treatment of Justice Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings led to Republicans’ gains in the Senate. (A transcript of the presser is available at the White House website.)
“By expanding our Senate majority, the voters have also clearly rebuked the Senate Democrats for their handling of the Kavanaugh hearings,” he said.
“That was a factor. I think maybe a very big factor. The way that was handled, I think, was — tremendous energy was given to the Republican Party by the way they treated then-Judge Kavanaugh, now Justice Kavanaugh. And expressed their support for confirming more great pro-Constitution judges.”
Incumbent Democrat senators who went down to defeat were Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), Claire McCaskill (Missouri), and Bill Nelson (Florida). Nelson was beaten by Gov. Rick Scott ® by four-tenths of a percentage point and has requested a recount.
Trump slammed by name defeated GOP candidates whom he said failed to “embrace” him during the campaign. Some “decided to ‘let’s stay away,’” he said. “They did very poorly. I’m not sure that I should be happy or sad, but I feel just fine about it.”
He then named and shamed fallen House candidates Carlos Curbelo (Florida), Mike Coffman (Colorado), Peter Roskam (Illinois), Erik Paulsen (Minnesota), and defeated Senate candidate Bob Hugin (New Jersey).
He mocked defeated Rep. Mia Love of Utah: “I saw Mia Love. She’d call me all the time to help her with a hostage situation. Being held hostage in Venezuela. But Mia Love gave me no love, and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”
He also mocked defeated Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia who had been the only Republican representing a district inside the Washington Beltway. Comstock was “another one.”
He added: “I mean, I think she could have run that race, but she didn’t want to have any embrace. For that, I don’t blame her. But she — she lost. Substantially lost.”
Trump praised those “candidates who embraced our message of low taxes, low regulations, low crime, strong borders, and great judges [who] excelled last night.”
He described successful House candidates Mike Bost and Rodney Davis of Illinois and Andy Barr of Kentucky as “fantastic” and called Pete Stauber of Minnesota a “great guy” who is “new and ran a fantastic race.”
After expressing his “warmest appreciation in regards to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,” Trump was conciliatory toward incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“I give her a lot of credit. She works very hard, and she’s worked long and hard. I give her a great deal of credit for what she’s done and what she’s accomplished.
“Hopefully, we can all work together next year to continue delivering for the American people, including on economic growth, infrastructure, trade, lowering the cost of prescription drugs. These are some of things that the Democrats do want to work on, and I really believe we’ll be able to do that. I think we’re going to have a lot of reason to do it.”
Pelosi had reciprocated. As election results were coming in Tuesday night, she spoke by telephone with Trump, she said Wednesday.
“Last night I had a conversation with President Trump about how we could work together,” Pelosi said, suggesting the two may focus on an infrastructure package. “That issue has not been a partisan issue,” she said.
On Election Day she said she was disinclined to support impeaching the president.
It depends on what happens in the Mueller investigation, but that is not unifying and I get criticized in my own party for not being in support of it. But I’m not. If that happens, it would have to be bipartisan, and the evidence would have to be so conclusive.
Several races that went into overtime on Election Day were resolved, or at least closer to resolution, Wednesday.
In Montana, Sen. Jon Tester (D) was reelected, defeating state auditor Matt Rosendale ®.
In retiring RINO Sen. Jeff Flake’s ® seat in Arizona, U.S. Rep. Martha McSally ® was leading with 49.4 percent over radical left-winger and U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) who had 48.4 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, at press time. Angela Green of the Green Party had 2.2 percent.
In California, it appeared the 15-term congressman, Dana Rohrabacher ®, had been defeated by businessman Harley Rouda (D). Rohrabacher is currently chairman of the Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Democrats flipped a House seat in New Mexico. Lawyer Xochitl Torres Small (D) narrowly defeated state representative Yvette Herrell ®. The incumbent, Steve Pearce ®, resigned his seat to unsuccessfully run for governor.
In the race for governor of Alaska, former state senator Mike Dunleavy ® soundly defeated U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D).
In Wisconsin, conservative hero Gov. Scott Walker ® was narrowly defeated in his reelection bid by superintendent of public instruction Tony Evers (D). A recount had been expected but on Wednesday Walker conceded the race to Evers.
In Nevada, conservative stalwart and state attorney general Adam Laxalt ® was defeated in the gubernatorial race by Steve Sisolak (D), chairman of the Clark County Commission.
In Georgia, secretary of state Brian Kemp ® declared victory Wednesday over left-wing extremist and former state house minority leader Stacey Abrams (D). With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Kemp received 50.33 percent (1,973,098 votes), compared to the 48.73 percent (1,910,388 votes) Abrams received and the 0.95 percent (37,088 votes) Libertarian Ted Metz received, according to exact figures on a state website. Abrams, a race-baiter who always has left-wing clichés at the ready, has not conceded the race.
Meanwhile, Antifa terrorists from the group Smash Racism DC tried to intimidate Fox News Channel host and fearless conservative Tucker Carlson Wednesday at his home in Washington, D.C. The same group previously chased Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) out of a restaurant during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.
Smash Racism DC posted video on Twitter of its members shouting and chanting: “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!” He wasn’t home at the time.