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Bannon: Republicans gave Trump green light to replace Jeff Sessions

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Steve Bannon
Steve Bannon.
Sean
Gallup/Getty Images


  • Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief
    strategist, said he understands if the president wants to
    replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
  • He told Business Insider that some Republicans have
    already given Trump “a flashing green” light to do so.
  • Trump ramped up his criticism of Sessions last
    week.
  • Sessions offered a rare rebuke to some of Trump’s
    comments.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told Business Insider in an
interview
that some key Republicans have given President
Donald Trump “a flashing green” light to replace Attorney General
Jeff Sessions.

Trump ramped up his criticism of Sessions last week after a pair
of bombshell legal developments. Trump’s former lawyer Michael
Cohen made a plea deal with federal prosecutors, and his former
campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty of a series of
crimes.

Sessions, in turn, offered a rare rebuke to the
president’s remarks. 

In Congress, multiple leading Republicans, such as Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, signaled that
Sessions is likely to be replaced following the midterm
elections. Trump has been frustrated by Sessions’ recusal from
all matters related to the 2016 campaign.

Bannon, however, told Business Insider that recusal was
unavoidable and that anyone as involved in the campaign — such as
Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and former New Jersey
Gov. Chris Christie — would’ve had to do the same.


donald trump jeff sessions
Donald
Trump and Jeff Sessions.

Reuters/Kevin
Lamarque


But removing Sessions could prove to be a red line for other
Republican senators, as the ouster would give the appearance of
Trump trying to interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller’s
ongoing probe or to influence the Justice Department in other
ways.

Saying he has “great deal of respect for Sessions,” a “close
friend” he calls “one of the fathers of” the right-wing populist
movement, Bannon said it makes sense if Trump wants to get rid of
the attorney general.

“I think he’s done an amazing job on immigration and the issues,”
Bannon said. “But when a president loses confidence in an
attorney general, it is his prerogative to do what he wants.
Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham are not bomb-throwers. They are
about as middle of the road as it gets. They get that after the
November election, he’s going to have a choice to make.”

Bannon said he believes ” a number of” Cabinet officials will
either depart after the midterms, or Trump will decide he wants
someone else in the role.

“And I think you’ve got a flashing green from both Lindsey Graham
and Grassley,” he added. “I think the question is who can
actually get confirmed. Who’s confirmable that would comport to
the president’s agenda. I think both on immigration, on the
border, what he’s doing for law and order, Sessions has had an
extraordinary run.”

As for who he thinks could possibly replace Sessions, Bannon said
his personal favorite would be Solicitor General Noel Francisco.

“I think the solicitor general has done a pretty extraordinary
job and is someone who will clearly be in the mix, but that’s for
the president to decide,” he said.

Bannon, months after being castigated by
Trump following his comments to the
author Michael Wolff
, recently launched Citizens of the
American Republic, a political action group.

Already, Bannon says the group of 25 people includes former Trump
campaign officials such as Michael Caputo and will be advising
multiple pro-Trump surrogates. Bannon is also soon to release a
new film, titled “[email protected]” The film highlights what the
president has delivered to his supporters and makes the case that
Trump’s presidency is under threat.

That’s the central theme of
Bannon’s message as he zeroes in
on the midterm elections.

“This is President Trump’s first reelect,” Bannon said. “It isn’t
2020. It’s now.”

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