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    WASHINGTON – Nearly half of likely U.S. voters think congressional lame-duck sessions are a waste of time, according to a poll released Thursday.

    The Rasmussen Reports survey found that 47 percent of the respondents said they do not think Congress conducts important legislative business during lame-duck sessions, compared with 25 percent who said they do think Congress conducts important legislative business during lame-duck sessions. Meanwhile, 28 percent said they are not sure if Congress conducts important legislative business during lame-duck sessions.

    The sampling included 1,000 likely voters and was carried out Nov. 26-27. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

    The survey comes two weeks before the conclusion of the 115th Congress.

    During the midterm elections Democrats won control of the House of Representatives and Republicans increased their narrow majority in the Senate.

    Lame-duck sessions occur every two years and mark the final term in office for lawmakers  who were either defeated at the polls or are retiring.

    Leadership elections are held during lame-duck sessions and newly-elected lawmakers come to the Capitol for orientation.

    However, this lame-duck session is slightly more complicated because Congress is tasked with coming up with a plan to avert a partial government shutdown when funding for several key executive branch departments expires at the end of next week.

    Both the House and Senate are scheduled leave town in mid-December.

    The 116th Congress will convene on Jan. 3, 2019.

    Sen. Jeff Sessions at Confirmation Hearing

    WASHINGTON – Though Democrats are ideologically opposed to the political views held by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, most are displeased President Donald Trump abruptly fired Sessions last week, according to a poll released Tuesday.

    The Rasmussen Reports survey found that 61 percent of Democrats said they disagree with the decision to fire Sessions. Conversely, 68 percent of Republicans said they agree with the decision to fire Sessions. Meanwhile, 46 precent of those not affiliated with either party said they disagree with the decision to fire Sessions and 29 percent said they agree with the decision.

    The sampling included 1,000 likely voters and was carried out Nov. 8 & 11. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

    Trump fired Sessions last Wednesday-one day after the mid-term elections.

    Sessions had asked the White House if he could finish out the week but the request was denied, according to media reports.

    Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker replaced Sessions the day of the firing. Whitaker had served as Sessions’ chief of staff.

    Sessions served as attorney general for almost two years. He infuriated Trump with his  decision to recuse himself from DoJ’s investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

    The recusal was preceded by reports that said Sessions had twice met with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

    Trump attacked Sessions in tweets and reportedly mocked him behind closed doors.

    Sessions served 20 years as a Republican senator for Alabama prior to becoming attorney general. He was known as one of the upper chamber’s most conservative members, most notably on issues related to immigration enforcement.

    Throughout his career Sessions battled accusations of racism that stemmed from comments he allegedly made while U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. Sessions was appointed to that position by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

    The alleged comments are believed to have cost Sessions a federal judgeship in 1986.

    Discussion related to the alleged comments resurfaced in 2017 during Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general.

    Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the only Democrat who voted to confirm Sessions.

    Sessions denies having made the comments.

    Democrats’ displeasure at Sessions’ departure appears linked to Whitaker’s decision thus far not to recuse himself from oversight of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation.

    Whitaker previously made comments that seemed to question the merits of the probe.

    WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed concern about the integrity of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation following the sudden resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday.

    “Protecting Mueller and his investigation is paramount. It would create a constitutional crisis if this were a prelude to ending or greatly limiting the Mueller investigation,” Schumer said at a news conference shortly afterwards.

    President Donald Trump announced Sessions’ departure in a Wednesday afternoon tweet. Trump tweeted that Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, will serve as acting attorney general. Shortly after the tweet Sessions’ resignation letter was published by several media outlets, which suggested Trump requested Sessions to step down.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies during House hearing, Photo by Doug Christian
    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, pictured last November, had recused himself from the Russia probe  a move that infuriated President Donald Trump. (Doug Christian/Talk Media News)

    Last year Sessions recused himself from the Department of Justice’s investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials. The recusal was preceded by reports that said Sessions had twice met with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was charged with overseeing the probe following Sessions’ recusal. Rosenstein appointed Mueller on May 17, 2017, eight days after Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.

    Sessions’ recusal infuriated Trump. The president attacked Sessions in tweets and reportedly mocked the former Alabama senator’s accent and demeanor behind closed doors.

    Trump has stringently denied allegations of collusion and has called Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt.”

    For months Senate Republicans implored Trump not to fire their former colleague. However, in recent weeks, some Republicans have backed off that stance.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies during House hearing, Photo by Doug Christian

    WASHINGTON — Jeff Sessions resigned as attorney general Wednesday at the request of President Donald Trump.

    Trump initially announced the move via a tweet.

    Sessions issued a resignation letter to the White House, but noted that it was given at the request of the president.

    His departure carries considerable weight since his eventual replacement will have the authority to dismiss Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is currently probing potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

    Sessions, who served as a surrogate on Trump’s campaign, recused himself last year from any federal investigation into potential collusion, a move that has drawn public ire from the president.

    While Session’s eventual dismissal was widely expected in Washington, Trump declined to answer questions about the attorney general’s future during a lengthy press conference Wednesday afternoon before the president’s tweet, simply saying that he intended to address it later.

    “I’d rather that at a little bit different time. We’re looking at a lot of different things including cabinet,” Trump said. “I’m very happy with most of my cabinet. We’re looking at different people for different positions.”

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies during House hearing, Photo by Doug Christian

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declined to rule out the possibility of firing Jeff Sessions when asked Wednesday if he plans on dismissing the attorney general.

    “We are looking at lots of different things,” Trump said from the White House South Lawn.

    The comments came shortly after The Hill released an on-camera interview with Trump in which he delivered some of his harshest critiques of Sessions to-date.

    “I don’t have an attorney general,” Trump said.

    When asked during the interview if he could fire Sessions, Trump said “we’ll see what happens” and added that numerous people have asked him to do as much.

    On Tuesday, Trump emphasized that he was “disappointed” with Sessions.

    Trump has repeatedly lashed out at his attorney general, frustration rooted in Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from an investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

    Sessions, a former senator, served as a Trump campaign surrogate.

    Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appeared to give tacit approval to Trump swapping out Sessions last month.

    “The president deserves an attorney general he feels confident in that can lead the Department of Justice in a more effective way,” Graham said during an interview on the Fox News program “Hannity.”

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Photo by Doug Christian

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Friday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should investigate a New York Times op-ed published by an anonymous senior administration official.

    “It’s national security,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security.”

    The president said he is mulling options when it comes to taking action against the paper and the still unknown author.

    “We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about, also where he is right now,” Trump said. “Supposing I have a high-level national security, and he has got a clearance, we talked about clearances a lot recently, and he goes into a high-level meeting concerning China or Russia or North Korea or something … I don’t want him in those meetings.”

    The op-ed, published on Wednesday, details what the author describes as a “quiet resistance” to Trump’s most extreme inclinations by those serving in his administration.

    “Many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the author states. “I would know. I am one of them.”

    The author also says that those within Trump’s administration considered invoking the 25th amendment, a procedural move in which a two-thirds majority of the cabinet could pursue to strip Trump of the presidency.

    However, according to the writer, “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.”

    The Times acknowledged that an anonymous op-ed is a “rare step,” in a preface to the piece.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies during House hearing, Photo by Doug Christian

    WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is planning to meet with state officials to address conservative activists’ claims that social media companies are obscuring their content.

    “The Attorney General has convened a meeting with a number of state attorneys general this month to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms,” Justice Department spokesperson Devin O’Malley said in a statement.

    The statement came directly after an Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign governments attempting to use social media to interfere with U.S. elections.

    A subtext of the hearing, however, was complaints from those on the right who claim that social media giants are censoring their content, highlighted by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones appearing at the hearing and drawing attention to himself outside.

    Trump has repeatedly touted conservatives’ frustration, claiming that companies such as Twitter and Google could be breaking the law by allegedly limiting political viewpoints.

    “I think it’s a very serious problem, because they’re really trying to silence a very large part of this country. And those people don’t want to be silenced,” Trump told reporters at the White House last week. “It’s not right. It’s not fair. It may not be legal. But we’ll see. We just want fairness.”

    The president did not cite what laws may have been broken. He stopped shy of calling for increased regulations on tech.

    The companies in the president’s sites have routinely denied trying to muzzle conservatives.

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), (Photo Doug Christian)

    WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed President Donald Trump’s recent tweet suggesting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions erred by filing charges against two Republican members of Congress before the midterms.

    “Justice is blind. Justice should be blind. It should have no respect … to political party,” Ryan (R-Wis.) said during a press briefing Wednesday. “I think it’s very important that we respect the fact that justice should be blind. It should have no impact on political party and I think the process is working its way as it should.”

    On Monday, Trump tweeted that the charges against “two very popular Republican Congressmen” put two “easy wins” in doubt.

    Trump was likely referring to Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y). and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).

    Collins was charged with insider trading, and Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were charged with campaign finance violations and fraud.

    The White House has not yet formally addressed the president’s tweet.

    On Wednesday, Ryan said Congress has taken appropriate actions by removing the two members from their committee assignments.

    Brett Kavanaugh visits Capitol Hill and meets with White House counsel Don McGahn, (Photo ©

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that outgoing White House Counsel Don McGahn did not prevent him from dismissing Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    Trump appeared to be referring to a New York Times report from Wednesday that stated McGahn threatened to resign when asked to fire Mueller.

    The article also claimed that Trump was frustrated with McGahn for not stopping Sessions from recusing himself in Mueller’s probe.

    Trump took issue with another detail in the story: anger toward McGahn from his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, both of whom are White House aides.

    Trump announced Wednesday on Twitter that McGahn would leave his position this fall following the expected confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

    WASHINGTON— White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders played down President Donald Trump’s tweet urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

    “It’s not an order. It’s the president’s opinion,” Sanders said during Wednesday’s briefing.

    The president’s tweet and the White House’s subsequent response comes the week after The New York Times reported that Mueller is examining Trump’s tweets amid an inquiry into potential obstruction of justice.

    Trump made the initial remark as part of a series of tweets castigating the Mueller probe Wednesday morning.

    Like Sanders, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, claimed during an interview with CNN Tuesday that the president was simply expressing an opinion.

    Sanders said that she did not know if Trump had shared his sentiment with Sessions directly.

    When asked if Trump was aware that Sessions, who recused himself from matters relating to the 2016 election, was not the Justice Department official with the power to dismiss Mueller, Sanders said that Trump is “very well aware of how the process works.”