Tapper called the comments an “unprecedented rhetorical attack on our nation’s chief law enforcement officers” by Trump. He cited Sessions comment that he would continue to stay in his position for as long as it is “appropriate.”
“But what is appropriate in a world where the president says, he wouldn’t have hired you if he’d known you’d do what most people agreed was the right and ethical thing?” Tapper wondered.
“I’m very disturbed that the president would throw Jeff Sessions under the bus. I think sessions did the right thing ethically and the right thing legally … To undermine the Attorney General is very bad form for the president,” one Senator told CNN. “One gets the impression that the president doesn’t understand or he willfully disregards the fact that the Attorney General and law enforcement in general — they are not his personal lawyers to defend and protect him. He has his own personal lawyers and of course the White House Counsel’s office. The Attorney General is America’s top law enforcement official — it’s unclear if he understands that.”
Tapper called the comments “disturbing” coming from a member of the president’s own party.
“I know Jeff Sessions to be a person of real integrity, which is why he recused himself,” a second senator told Tapper anonymously. “I don’t think it’s good for any president of the United States to undermine the federal judiciary.”
“If you’re Jeff Sessions, it’s got to be tough to come to work the next day,” a third senator told Tapper.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the only one willing to go on the record about the president’s comments.
“It would be catastrophic if the president were to fire the special counsel,” she said.
The first senator Tapper cited went on to call Trump’s actions “not smart.”
“You’ve got a special counsel, let the individual do his work,” the second senator said. “Don’t comment, don’t interfere, just let the special counsel do his job.”
Tapper then spoke directly to Trump, saying that these are members of his own party telling him these things. To make matters worse, some of the senators are even supporters of Trump’s, according to Tapper.
“All of whom want you to succeed. And their message to you on this issue is cut it out,” Tapper closed.
CNN’s Sarah Murray cited other senators who said that they’re wondering if Trump isn’t loyal to Sessions who he will be loyal to.