When Jeff Sessions was a boy of 7 or 8, he had a dog that followed him everywhere. But one day, the dog got him in trouble. Sessions had run with the mutt into the woods of rural Alabama, figuring it knew where it was going. By the time he realized he was wrong, the two of them were hopelessly lost. “They closed all the stores and everyone had to go looking for me,” Sessions recalled with a chuckle. “My excuse was, I was just following him.”
Sessions told me this story on March 15–the day before he fired former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe–from his blue vinyl club chair on the military jet that had whisked the U.S. Attorney General away from Washington. It had the ring of a parable: beware those who seem the most loyal to you; it is they who will lead you astray.
Donald Trump once followed Sessions’ lead, promising as a candidate the crackdowns on crime, immigration and trade for which Sessions crusaded in the Senate. The first Senator to endorse Trump, Sessions gave him credibility with the far right and provided the intellectual framework for his law-and-order sloganeering. And as Attorney General, he has turned Trump’s rhetoric into reality, emerging as the most effective enforcer of the President’s agenda.
But if the fixation on law and order brought Sessions and Trump together, it is also what has rent them asunder. When Sessions recused himself a year ago from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he set in motion the chain of events that culminated in the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump has never forgiven him. In public and private, the President has denigrated the proud former Senator, calling him an “idiot,” “beleaguered” and “disgraceful.”
SOURCE: MOLLY BALL