Three stories on the plate for today in Mueller investigation news, first up yes, Attorney General Jeff Sessions's days are indeed numbered, and no, congressional Republicans aren't going to do a thing about it as long as they get Kavanaugh confirmed first
President Trump, who levied extraordinary public attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions in recent weeks, has privately revived the idea of firing him in conversations with his aides and personal lawyers this month, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
His attorneys concluded that they have persuaded him — for now — not to make such a move while the special-counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign is ongoing, the people said.
But there is growing evidence that Senate Republicans, who have long cautioned Trump against firing Sessions, are now resigned to the prospect that he may do so after the November midterm elections — a sign that one of the last remaining walls of opposition to such a move is crumbling.
“We wish the best for him, but as any administration would show, Cabinet members seldom last the entire administration, and this is clearly not an exception,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in an interview Tuesday.
“Nothing lasts forever,” Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) told The Washington Post, describing the Trump-Sessions dynamic as “a toxic relationship.”
Added Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a longtime defender of the attorney general: “My sense is the fix is in.”
Getting rid of Sessions means the Saturday Night Massacre and end of the Mueller probe is now all but assured, the only question is when. It would be a nightmare if it happened before the midterms, but after, well. And that brings us to story #2, that White House Counsel Don McGahn is also on his way out
Top White House officials and sources close to White House counsel Don McGahn tell Axios that McGahn will step down this fall — after Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, or after the midterms.
The big picture: That potentially puts a successor in charge of fielding a blizzard of requests or subpoenas for documents and testimony if Democrats win control of the House in the midterms. And if the White House winds up fighting special counsel Robert Mueller, an epic constitutional fight could lie ahead.
A source familiar with Flood's thinking said: “The reason he can represent both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump is because he thinks these investigators come and basically put a target on their backs, trying to overturn every aspect of their lives searching for a crime."
- We're told that Trump has not formalized a successor.
- But McGahn has told a confidant he would like his successor to be Emmet Flood, a Clinton administration alumnus who joined the White House in May to deal with the Russia probe.
- Flood also served for two years during George W. Bush’s second term as his top lawyer handling congressional investigators.
Note that McGahn was the main reason Mueller wasn't immediately fired in June 2017
. If McGahn's departure comes in September or October instead of after the midterms, Trump may make his move on Sessions, Rosenstein, and Mueller sooner rather than later. The Mueller investigation would have ended after just a month.
And that brings us to Story #3, a massive new Justice Department money laundering investigation, but the fugitive suspect has a whole hell of a lot of familiar Republicans on his defense team
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether a fugitive Malaysian financier laundered tens of millions of dollars through two associates and used the funds to pay a U.S. legal team that includes former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and a lawyer who represents President Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.
Jho Low, the Malaysian businessman, has been described in U.S. court filings as playing a central role in the alleged embezzlement of $4.5 billion from a Malaysian fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
Malaysian authorities this week separately charged Mr. Low with money laundering in the case, which investigators suspect may be one of the biggest financial frauds in history. He has been moving around Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China in recent months, according to people with knowledge of his whereabouts.
Mr. Low was close to former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Rajak, who unexpectedly lost an election in May and was arrested last monthin Kuala Lumpur. Mr. Najib has pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in connection with the 1MDB scandal.
The Justice Department, in July 2016 and last year, filed civil lawsuits in federal court in California seeking to recover assets from Mr. Low and others including mansions, artwork and a yacht allegedly bought with 1MDB funds. It is now pursuing a criminal investigation in which Mr. Low, who has U.S. assets, is a target, these people said.
Chris Christie, former US Attorney, defending the biggest money laundering case in US history, huh.
The team of lawyers and consultants working for Mr. Low includes Mr. Christie, who briefly headed Mr. Trump’s presidential transition team; Mr. Trump’s longtime lawyer Marc Kasowitz ; Bobby Burchfield, a lawyer who has served as the Trump Organization’s outside ethics adviser; and Ed Rogers, a Washington lobbyist with close ties to the Republican Party.
Mr. Christie is representing Mr. Low in the asset-forfeiture cases in California, a spokesman for the former governor said. “There has been no communication by Governor Christie with any other area of government on Mr. Low’s behalf,” the spokesman said, adding there has been “no inquiry made to him by the Department of Justice with regard to any other investigation regarding funding or otherwise."
A spokesman for Kasowitz Benson Torres, Mr. Kasowitz’s New York law firm, confirmed the firm represents Mr. Low in Justice Department matters. “Here, as with all of our clients, our job as attorneys is to represent and vindicate our clients’ interests; and here, as with all of our non-pro-bono clients, we are paid for the legal services we provide,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Nothing to do with Trump's money laundering, except for all the Republicans making sure the guy goes free.
Now that's interesting. Put this all together and I see Trump, once Kavanaugh becomes the fifth vote he needs on SCOTUS, doing whatever he likes and going straight to authoritarianism.