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Jeff Sessions’ turbulent tenure as attorney general, as seen by cartoonists | Opinion

Throughout Sessions' 16 months in the Justice Department, cartoonists captured every pivotal moment.

Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News, NY
Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News, NYRead moreAdam Zyglis, The Buffalo News, NY

On Nov. 7, the day after the midterm election, President Donald Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign. Throughout his turbulent 16 months in the Justice Department, cartoonists captured every pivotal moment.

>> Read more: Jeff Sessions deserved better | Christine Flowers

Sessions and the Senate

The decision to nominate Jeff Sessions was not a popular one. During a debate on the Senate floor about the nomination, Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) read a letter from Coretta Scott King, the wife of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, that accused Sessions of intimidating elderly black voters from voting. Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), tried to stop Warren from reading the letter invoking Senate rules. McConnell said that Warren was asked to stop but "nevertheless, she persisted." The line became a rallying cry for democrats and liberal women.

On the other side of the political aisle, the effort to block Sessions confirmation was viewed as a witch hunt.

Sessions was confirmed but his relationship with Congress was not over. In June 2017, Sessions came back to Capitol Hill to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee to address whether he'd lied when he said in his confirmation hearing that he had no contact with the Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. A photo shows that he did meet with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a Washington hotel.  Sessions claimed that he does not recall the interaction but some cartoonists used the debate as inspiration.

Trump’s and Sessions’ rocky relationship

In February of 2016, Sessions was the first sitting senator to endorse Trump. As he became more involved in the Trump campaign, the pair seemed to be well-matched. But the love affair did not last long. Because of Sessions' involvement in the campaign, less than two months after his confirmation, Trump's new Attorney General recused himself from any involvement in the investigation of Russian interference in the election — handing it over to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who later appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel. Trump frequently commented that he "[has] no Attorney General" and that if he knew that Sessions would recuse himself, he would have picked someone else.

The break-up

The relationship came to an end when Trump asked Sessions to submit his resignation last week. Even though Sessions technically resigned and wasn't fired, many cartoonists viewed the breakup as one sided.

Promoting the Jeff Sessions agenda

Despite the almost constant hammering from his boss, Sessions was laser focused on promoting his anti-immigrant and war on drugs agenda. As Attorney General, he cracked down on states that legalized marijuana, led the child separation policy at the Southern border, refused to review the conduct of police departments, and attempted to curtail voting rights.

Sessions often cited the bible and his religion as what guides his policy decisions.

Critics often cited the impact of Sessions policies on people of color — and some believe that that impact motivated his decision making.

The future of Mueller’s investigation

Now that Jeff Sessions is gone, the new acting AG, Matthew Whitaker, takes over the oversight of the Mueller investigation. Will it survive?