Sen. Chuck Grassley issued a warning to the White House Wednesday to tread carefully when it comes to Attorney General Jeff Sessions because the Senate Judiciary Committee won’t take up the nomination of a potential successor until 2018.
"Everybody in D.C. [should be] warned that the agenda for the Judiciary Committee is set for rest of 2017. Judges first subcabinet 2nd / AG no way," Grassley tweeted Wednesday.
Everybody in D.C. Shld b warned that the agenda for the judiciary Comm is set for rest of 2017. Judges first subcabinet 2nd / AG no way— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) July 27, 2017
Grassley, who’s chairman of the committee, served with Sessions on the panel.
The tweet comes after the president has been publicly hammering Sessions for days, calling him “beleaguered” and “weak” when it comes to going after Hillary Clinton’s crimes and intelligence leakers, and criticizing him for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Trump said he wants the attorney general to be “much tougher.”
Trump has also privately discussed using a recess appointment to try to name Sessions's successor without having to get congressional approval, according to the Washington Post. A White House official told the Post that action isn't "imminent."
Congressional Democrats have pledged they will block such a move by forcing the Senate to hold pro-forma sessions, which would stymie any attempts by Trump to make a recess appointment. (The Hill)
If Trump were to fire Sessions without having a successor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would become acting attorney general. Trump has also been critical of Rosenstein for leading the “witch hunt” so that option seems less than desirable to the president.