Caricature by DonkeyHotey flic.kr/p/Ct4G4K https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

Not that I know there was any huge demand for it, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced he will not recuse himself from the investigation of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. What does this mean?

By staying involved in the Cohen probe, Sessions is entitled to briefings on the status of the investigation, which is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York. That could put Sessions in the position of being asked by Trump, who strongly condemned the FBI raid on his longtime lawyer, to divulge information about the Cohen investigation.

Sessions could also weigh in on specific decisions by prosecutors, including whether to pursue subpoenas and indictments. The attorney general may be asked about his role in the Cohen investigation when he testifies before congressional panels on Wednesday and Thursday.

The investigation into Cohen’s finances and past work was opened based in part on a referral from Mueller.

The Justice Department declined to comment specifically about decisions on recusal in the Cohen investigation, saying only that Sessions follows appropriate procedures.

“The attorney general considers his potential recusal on a matter-by-matter basis as may be needed,” the department said in a statement. “To the extent a matter comes to the attention of his office that may warrant consideration of recusal, the attorney general would review the issue and consult with the appropriate Department ethics experts.”

Personally, I applaud the decision. There is no logical reason that Sessions can’t be involved in this investigation as it is not linked to the Mueller auto-da-fe. For Sessions to recuse himself would have been the same as announcing that President Trump was under investigation. Conversely, his refusal pretty much says the opposite. Except in the anti-Trump world where this will be proof of a cover-up and “obstruction.”

There is also another reason for the refusal to recuse. He has a damned good idea what Trump’s Twitter feed would look like tomorrow morning. As Mark Twain said, “If a cat sits on a hot stove, that cat won’t sit on a hot stove again. That cat won’t sit on a cold stove either. That cat just don’t like stoves.”