The good and bad of Jeff Sessions getting fired

Jeff Sessions

On Nov. 7, President Donald Trump demanded the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, effectively firing him from the position. Sessions had a dismal and destructive track record of supporting prohibitionist policies, draconian border controls and inhumane enforcement tactics, and authoritarian brutality in law enforcement. It’s good that he’s gone. Sessions will be replaced, however, and his replacement may not be much better.

“The good news is that Sessions will no longer be in a position to enforce his dreadfully wrong ideas about law enforcement and public policy,” said Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark. “Sessions is a die-hard supporter of the destructive war on drugs, which the government has been losing for decades. At a time when more and more states are legalizing medical and recreational use of marijuana, Sessions decided to exert federal control by rescinding the Barack Obama–era Cole Memorandum that had prevented federal prosecution of marijuana offenses in states where marijuana had been legalized.”

Sessions built an infamous reputation for his cruel and callous disregard of human life and family unity. “If you smuggle an illegal alien across the border, then we’ll prosecute you,” Sessions said. “If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that.” Even the virulently anti-immigration President Trump, on the other hand, decided that it didn’t look good to lock parents and children cages, separately.

“Sessions was also wrong in supporting the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA),” Sarwark said. “It effectively allows our country’s 17 intelligence agencies to spy on American citizens with no Fourth Amendment protections. We’re glad to see Sessions go.”

It’s not yet certain who the permanent replacement for Sessions will be. Ordinarily, the deputy attorney general would take over as acting attorney general. In this case, that would be Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Instead, Trump named Matthew Whitaker, who worked for Sessions as his chief of staff. Whitaker is on record for criticizing the scope of the Mueller investigation, saying that it “would raise serious concerns that the special counsel’s investigation was a mere witch hunt” if it involves examining the Trump family’s finances.

“We don’t know whether the special prosecutor will find anything of substance regarding election interference by Russia,” Sarwark said. “The investigation, however, should be allowed to run its course and Whitaker should ensure that Mueller is not hindered in carrying out that responsibility. When public officials are accused of abusing their power, they must be held to account.”

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