CNN pro-Trump pundit defends Trump demanding Sessions un-recuse: "An attorney general has to protect the president from certain things"
CNN panel dismisses claim from pro-Trump commentator Bryan Lanza
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From the January 5 edition of CNN Newsroom with John Berman and Poppy Harlow:
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POPPY HARLOW (CO-HOST): Can you help us understand this? I mean it seems like he thinks that the [Attorney General] and the Justice Department should be like his Keith Schiller, like his bodyguard, rather than working for the American people?
BRYAN LANZA (CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR): Well let's be clear. The attorney general works for the American people, but it's also he does it at the discretion of the president. The president was right to ask [White House counsel] Don McGahn to reach out to Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions to not to recuse himself. At the end of the day this was a judgement call, whether Sessions was being as transparent as possible with the confirmation committee. And we can make the case that he didn't need to recuse himself, and that's what the president was doing. That's his prerogative. The president has say over personnel decisions. He can tell them these things. It's his prerogative. There's nothing illegal or criminal about that. It's a good story.
HARLOW: Is it a misunderstanding though? Does it concern you that his primary focus seems to be, from this reporting, "Who will protect me? Why aren't they protecting me?"
LANZA: An attorney general has to protect the president from certain things. I mean, there's a lot of legal challenges that show up, and he has to inform him about these decisions.
JOHN BERMAN (CO-HOST): I'll ask this to Peter, who's worked in several White Houses. Is it the job of the attorney general to protect the White House from investigations that might lead to the White House? That doesn't seem to be part of the job description.
PETER WEHNER (FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH): No. In Trump world, I guess that's what they think the attorney general does. I think as everybody who works for Donald Trump, that's their job, which is to protect him. But in fact, that's not. You take an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution and to do what is right and to follow the law.