Attorney General Jeff Sessions is trying to tamp down the scandal surrounding his contacts with Russia through an interview with Tucker Carlson. Sessions surely expects an easy time from the Fox News host, who has repeatedly used his program to defend the attorney general, including on last night’s broadcast.
Sessions announced today that he will recuse himself from “any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States” in the wake of the revelation that he failed to acknowledge during his confirmation hearing that he met with Russia’s ambassador during the 2016 presidential campaign season, when he was a Donald Trump surrogate.
He will reportedly appear on Tucker Carlson Tonight in an effort to defuse a firestorm that includes calls for his resignation from numerous Democratic lawmakers, including Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
It’s unusual for Carlson to host a newsmaking interview with an administration official, as Rosie Gray noted. And helping Republicans find their footing in the midst of scandals is usually Sean Hannity’s job. But Sessions has good reason to expect the kid gloves treatment from Carlson.
Sessions’ racism was a key point of contention during the fight for his confirmation as attorney general. Roll Call’s Jonathan Allen described him as “unfit for the Cabinet” and a “partially reconstructed baiter of minorities” in a November 15 column.
As Allen noted, Sessions’ nomination for the federal bench was rejected by the Senate in 1986 amid allegations that he “had called major civil rights organizations ‘un-American,’ used racially insensitive language with associates and even said pot-smoking was the only reason he no longer thought the KKK was OK.” Allen reviewed Sessions’ shameful legislative record on civil rights issues and noted his support from white nationalists.
Carlson went to the mat for Sessions, bringing Allen on to his November 18 broadcast to accuse him of “smearing” Sessions by producing “almost like a pure download from the DNC website.” Carlson suggested that Allen had been unfair to suggest Sessions was racist because Sessions had represented Alabama, which has a large African-American community, for decades. He accused Allen of “carrying water for the Democratic Party” by impugning Sessions with “slur[s]” and “pure talking points.”
Last night Carlson hosted attorney Eric Guster, who pointed out that Sessions recently gave a speech “where he was saying that they're going to stop suing police departments” over civil rights violations. Carlson responded by blaming President Obama’s Justice Department for racial bias in policing.
Like Sessions, Carlson is beloved by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, in no small part for the way he “has crushed professional mud-slinging Heebs like Jonathan Allen” on his show.
Carlson is also extremely skeptical of the U.S. intelligence community's conclusions that Russia played a role in the 2016 presidential election, denigrating those claims in numerous segments over months.
The attorney general is in good hands tonight.