Jeff Sessions and the Trail of Unanswered Questions

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If there was an organizing principle in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday—which was by turns dismissive, incoherent, evasive, and shameful—it was that certain people are owed deference, and certain others are not. This principle applied to Sessions’s unwillingness to answer some questions at all, his insistence on some courtesies and his refusal to observe others, and his ideas about whose obligation it is to follow rules. The hearing made it clear that the lodestone for Sessions is his abject deferral to what he sees as President Donald Trump’s “rights” but which might better be described as Trump’s demands, desires, and whims. Their relationship was illustrated in Sessions’s confounding account of how he reacted when the former F.B.I. director, James Comey, came to him and, by Comey’s account, said that he did not want to be left alone in a room with the President, to which Sessions said nothing.

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