The Iowa Republican’s defense of Sessions, who faced criticism for recusing himself from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, seemed in part because Grassley thinks his committee may be facing the prospect of a Supreme Court nomination later in 2018.
“I think Jeff Sessions is doing a good job even though on some issues I very dramatically disagree with him,” the Iowa Republican said on the Fox Business Network. “We’ve got three Cabinet people to approve now. We may even have a Supreme Court Justice to approve down the road a few months. The president shouldn’t be overburdening Congress with finding a new attorney general and going through that, particularly when the Democrats on every nomination [that] comes up, they filibuster.”
Some Senate Republicans have made mention of the possibility that Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy could be planning to retire this summer.
Grassley criticized the slow pace of confirmations, which has been the focus of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on the Senate floor this week.
The Judiciary chairman said he thought thus far Mueller’s potential inquiry into actual collusion between Trump and the Russian government during the presidential campaign seemed like it was a “dead end .”
But Grassley also warned Trump against taking action to oust the special counsel, advising the president that even talking about that was ill-advised.
“I have confidence in Mueller. The president ought to have confidence in Mueller,” Grassley told Fox Business. “I think, to answer your question, it would be suicide for the president to want to talk about firing Mueller. The less the president said on this whole thing, the better off he would be, the stronger his presidency would be.”
Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that, “Attorney-client privilege is dead!” and called the referral of a matter regarding his personal attorney Michael Cohen to the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!”
Despite that, Grassley he did not believe there would be attorney-client protection issues with the FBI raids in New York of Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
“I’m sure that the judge that gave the order that this raid could be made would be confident that that would not be an issue. If it is an issue with privacy with the president in this regard, they surely wouldn’t want to go down that road,” he said.