Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Sally Yates on the 'catastrophic' impact of beating up Jeff Sessions

Sally Yates, the acting U.S. attorney general who was fired by President Donald Trump last January, continues to step gingerly out onto the public stage.

Last week, the 30-year veteran of the U.S. Justice Department, who served as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta, filed an op-ed piece with the New York Times. Yates followed that up Monday with an  interview on NPR, in which she warned of “catastrophic” consequences if Trump is allowed to fire U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deep-six the investigation into Russian electoral interference. Said Yates:

“[M]any across the country had an almost ghoulish fascination in what was going on with the president, essentially beating up his attorney general publicly.


“But beneath that, the really troubling thing to me was why he was beating him up, and that is that he wanted him to resign, to be able to put someone else in to run the Russia investigation.


“And so while I understand why there would be a lot of discussion about the fact that Attorney General Sessions had been so loyal to the president, it really missed the bigger point to me, and that is the critical fact that the Department of Justice must absolutely be independent.”

Actually, Jeff Sessions will be in Atlanta this afternoon. The beleaguered U.S. attorney general – President Donald Trump’s description, not ours -- is scheduled to address members of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives at their annual training conference at the Hyatt Regency downtown.


A racial breakdown of the June 20 special election runoff for the Sixth District suggests that Republican Karen Handel was swept in by a high tide of white voters. The basics:

-- African-Americans made up 13 percent of the voting pool, but only 36 percent voted. They cast 9.3 percent of the vote.

-- White voters made up 66 percent of the voting pool, and 55.5 percent of them cast ballots. They cast 74 percent of the vote.

-- “Others,” a category thought to be heavy with minorities, made up 13 percent of the voting pool. This group, too, underperformed. Of these voters, 37 percent actually cast a ballot. They made up 10 percent of ballots cast.

The new stats, made available by the secretary of state’s office, don’t prove one contention by some political strategists: That at some point, the $30 million spent by Democrat Jon Ossoff began to work against him, by rallying his opposition. But the numbers don’t disprove it, either.


From Washington, Jamie Dupree of WSB Radio has put up a Facebook post on why we ought not to expect anything more from Senate Republicans on health care in August. A taste:

I don't sense in the hallways of the Capitol that Murkowski or Collins feel any pressure to change their votes. Murkowski was the most relaxed that I have seen her in months. She stopped and chatted with a small group of reporters for almost 7 minutes which was unheard of before the vote - usually her answers have been clipped, and she looks for a quick way out of a Q&A scrum. This time, she was talking about her weekend fishing trip in the waters off Alaska, and how she had people cheering her in various airports (and in tears thanking her for her vote). It was a similar story to the airport reception for Susan Collins in Maine.


McCain is gone until after Labor Day as he has started his cancer treatments back in Arizona. He put out statements yesterday saying that the defense authorization bill would not be dealt with until September, and criticizing the Trump Administration for not putting forward a policy on Afghanistan. McCain is not going to change his vote on health care anytime soon. Like Murkowski and Collins, he wants process, not speed.

That said, Dupree sent us some sound on U.S. Sen. David Perdue's hopes that a 50-vote-plus-veep majority can be found:


The plug has been pulled on an over-budget project in South Carolina, leaving the Georgia Power’s effort at Plant Vogtle the site of the only new nuclear power generators now under construction.  The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., reports that the decision by Santee Cooper and SCE&G came “in the wake of rising costs, falling demand for energy, construction delays and the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse this past spring:” Subscribers can read more here.


Gov. Nathan Deal's top aide is decidedly unimpressed by vows from three GOP gubernatorial contenders who want to reduce or eliminate Georgia's income tax. Chris Riley echoed his boss's opposition to deep slashes in Georgia's revenue stream in a Tweet on Monday:  “I hope they don't miss with their aim and kill Georgia's AAA bond rating we have enjoyed for over 20 consecutive years. #keepgaAAA”


State Rep. Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, has taken issue with his Republican colleague Allen Peake's fears that redistricting is partly to blame for the gridlock choking Washington. Exhibit A is the United State Senate,” Efstration wrote in a Facebook post. “Senators are not subject to partisan gerrymandering, yet the partisan divide in the present-day Senate is as brutal as any other legislative body.”


The interim city manager in Villa Rica is out of a job after he was accused of ignoring black applicants who sought to become the permanent occupant of that post, according to Randy Travis at WAGA-TV.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.