It is no exaggeration to say that, other than the president himself, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been the subject of more criticism than anyone else in the Trump administration over the past year.
For conservatives who wanted the Justice Department cleaned up, that’s good news. The criticisms leveled at Sessions from leftist groups are reassuring. Sessions must be on the right track if he is getting this much pushback.
In the span of less than one year, Sessions has managed to draw the ire of nearly every liberal organization in the country. Liberals are apoplectic that Sessions, at the helm of the Justice Department, has managed to accomplish so many key aspects of Trump’s agenda.
On the immigration front - a signature part of Trump’s winning platform in 2016 - Sessions has been one of the most important figures. Under Sessions’ leadership, the Department of Justice has done an about-face from the Obama-era approach to immigration lawlessness, embracing, instead, an unswerving commitment to the rule of law and the immigration laws on the books.
An outspoken critic of sanctuary jurisdictions, Sessions moved swiftly in his new job to end taxpayer-funded grants to sanctuary jurisdictions. Last summer, Sessions noted that “sanctuary policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes.” Sessions’ viewpoint here is a commonsense one that enjoys broad support among Americans.
Sessions has also overseen an influx of immigration judges to detention facilities. More than 100 immigration judges have been sent to the Department of Homeland Security detention facilities across the country, and Sessions has supplied the guidelines and principles for those judges, so immigration cases experience fewer delays and are afforded fair and equal treatment before the law.
In another stark contrast with Obama policies, Sessions has directed the Justice Department to partner with states as they work to enforce our nation’s immigration laws. Unlike the Obama Justice Department - which treated states as adversaries if they worked to uphold our nation’s immigration policies - Trump’s Justice Department has wisely decided to work closely with states in the shared goal of enforcing our immigration laws, including sharing information between the federal and state governments.
And while Obama’s Justice Department routinely undermined local law enforcement, Sessions has made it a point to use the Justice Department to support and help train police. Incredibly, even this policy has been attacked by liberals.
What all of these policy changes demonstrate is that Sessions is, first and foremost, interested in the rule of law.
In order to understand Sessions’ accomplishments in context, it is important to take stock of the rampant lawlessness and corruption in the Obama Justice Department.
Obama’s Justice Department ignored the laws and played by its own rules. As just one example of many, the Justice Department played a key role in the Tea Party targeting scandal. The IRS worked closely with the Justice Department to supply confidential donor information from conservative organizations. The Justice Department worked in tandem with the IRS in the systematic abuse of tea party conservatives, misusing government resources to compile files on conservative activists and donors without a court order.
Obama’s Justice Department became a weaponized tool for the Democrats - targeting conservatives for their political beliefs, while exonerating liberals from actual crimes.
While Sessions’ efforts to clean up the Justice Department have been loudly criticized by the political left, he has not been immune to criticism from conservatives, either.
Some conservatives on Capitol Hill and around the country are frustrated that it seems to be taking so long for Sessions to gain control of the Justice Department.
In Sessions’ defense, the sheer magnitude of the entrenched corruption at the Justice Department necessarily means there will be some lag time before Sessions is fully able to clean house. But there are some key areas where Sessions could do more - and more quickly.
Some advice for Sessions as he navigates his second year at Justice: First, err on the side of more investigations. The IRS scandal and the scandals involving Hillary Clinton’s emails and her involvement with Uranium One deserve more and deeper investigative work. The American people want to know that the wrongdoing of Obama’s Justice Department will be brought fully to light.
Second, remember that the Justice Department, like every other government agency, is full of careerists and bureaucrats who have an agenda completely anathema to the conservative agenda. Be wary of the advice you get from the career-types embedded in the Justice Department.
Third, and finally, focus even more of your energies and resources on reversing Obama’s dangerous policies at the Justice Department.
Conservatives have a lot to be thankful for with Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. And when it comes to enforcing the rule of law, it is difficult to imagine anyone better in this post. Sessions would do well to spend his time in this job with the singular focus of supplanting the Obama-era lawlessness with the rule of law, greater transparency, and more investigations.
The American people expect nothing less.
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