But what did we expect?
A petition, available here, to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions has amassed over 4,600 signatures in its first week at WhiteHouse.gov and has advanced past others to its front page. Meanwhile, a separate petition has also amassed over 4,600 signatures urging House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to bring articles of impeachment against Federal Judge Kimba Wood for forcing President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen to publicly disclose the legally-privileged identities of his other clients and for her failure to recuse herself from those proceedings despite her close connections to influential Democratic mega-donor George Soros and Hillary Clinton.
The Sessions petition will be accepting signatures until June 7th and such petitions need to collect 100,000 or more signatures to guarantee a response from the White House. There is no end date for the petition to impeach Judge Wood, who continues to preside over the hearings regarding Cohen’s seized legal files, and Speaker Ryan’s office hasn’t returned multiple requests for comment.
Since taking office more than a year ago, Sessions has butted heads with the president and with his own party on a number of issues from cannabis enforcement, potential investigations into the Clintons and others members of the former Obama administration, his recusal from the so-called “Russia investigation,” and more. Recently, Sessions and Republican members of House Judiciary Committee have been at odds regarding the DOJ’s repeated failures to answer their subpoenas.
On multiple occasions, the president has indicated that if Sessions had disclosed his potential issues overseeing the Russia investigation prior to his nomination, then Trump would have appointed a different attorney general.
While firing Sessions would be politically costly, his recusal from the Russia investigation means that Democrats would be hard pressed to label his ouster as an attempt to interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is currently overseeing Mueller, who may be planning to unseal inflammatory indictments close to the upcoming November, 2018 midterm elections.
And firing Sessions only becomes more unlikely and potentially harmful to the GOP as the elections approach. Further, if Trump and the Republicans were to lose more than 2 Senate seats in November, it would become impossible for them to confirm a new attorney general (or anyone else) without some Democratic support, making it almost certain that Sessions would remain in his post until January, 2021.
For her part, Manhattan Federal Judge Kimba Wood may have violated Chapter 28 Section 455(a) of U.S. Code, which requires any federal judge to “disqualify himself [or herself] from any proceeding in which his [or her] impartiality might reasonable be questioned.”
Despite having officiated the 2013 wedding ceremony of George Soros, who gave over $10.5 billion to Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, as well as her past place as number 2 on a list of candidates being vetted for the position of U.S. Attorney General by former First Lady Hillary Clinton in the 1990s, Judge Wood failed to recuse herself from the hearing regarding the legal files which were seized from the law office and residences of President Trump’s longtime New York lawyer, Michael Cohen, by the FBI. At an April 16th proceeding, Wood compelled Cohen to publicly disclose the identities of his other recent legal clients despite attorney-client privilege and the list which Cohen eventually produced after Wood overruled his objections included Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Hannity faced claims of impropriety for covering the April 9th no-knock FBI raids on Cohen without disclosing his professional relationship with the attorney. However, had Hannity made such a voluntary disclosure, critics and litigants could have pointed to it as a possible waiver of his attorney-client privilege, which can be ruled invalidated if a client voluntarily shares confidential information with non-privileged entities. It is also worth noting that Judge Wood’s past is not without controversy. She was withdrawn from consideration for U.S. attorney general by the Clinton administration after it came out that both she and another top contender for the position had both hired nannies who the media at the time described as “illegal immigrants” in a scandal that became known as “nanny-gate.” The AG post later went to Janet Reno.
Wood previously answered a request for comment from FreeMartyG both as to whether she would say if she believes herself and the DOJ to be above the law in her courtroom, and if she would say whether President Trump’s proposal for a border wall and stance on curbing illegal immigration may have affected her treatment of his attorney in court, especially in light of the direct effects of such issues on her botched candidacy for attorney general during the Clinton administration, by simply replying “no” to each. When asked how her relationship to Mr. Soros may have affected her rulings, Wood directed FreeMartyG to the office of the federal district court district executive for a “relevant statement,” however the district executive later declined to comment. Outside of the courtroom, Wood became known as the “Love Judge” when notes about her affair with her future third husband, Frank “the money man” Richardson III surfaced. She was eventually named as “the other woman” by Richardson’s previous wife in her divorce papers. In the 1960s, Wood also worked at a Playboy casino. Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, personally attended the April 16th hearing where Wood forced Cohen to name his clients.
The author, Marty Gottesfeld, is an Obama-era political prisoner. FreeMartyG is currently conducting a fundraiser to help keep Marty’s phone account funded and the articles flowing. You can donate at FreeMartyG.com.
Featured image credits: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.