U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, implied Wednesday afternoon that Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election has taken too long, saying he would like the new attorney general to discuss it with the special counsel.
“I hope the person would bring Mueller in and tell him ‘you either have a case or you don’t,’” Byrne told a gaggle of reporters in Mobile. “It’s time to wrap it up. If he’s got a case, make the case, but if he doesn’t it’s time to fold it up.”
Byrne spoke to members of the media the day after being re-elected to another two-year term in the House and just hours after reports Jeff Sessions had resigned upon request of President Donald J. Trump.
The congressman said it was obvious Trump was not happy about Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe, but he dodged several questions about whether he disagreed with the former senator’s move. Byrne would only say he was not familiar enough with U.S. Department of Justice policy to have an opinion.
Other than his decision on the Russia investigation, Byrne said Sessions seemed to be doing the work Trump wanted him to do, but added the president can appoint somebody if he sees fit. As for Sessions’ legacy, Byrne said he had moved DOJ in the right direction.
“He returned the DOJ back to being enforcers of law instead of one making new laws,” he said. “He returned that level of professionalism … ”
As for Sessions’ possible replacement, Byrne said he didn’t have any favorites, but has heard Sen. Lindsey Graham’s name mentioned. He mentioned Graham’s “incredible presence” during the senate hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and said he’d be good in the position.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama Richard Moore declined to comment on Sessions’ resignation. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall called Sessions a “standard-bearer for upholding the rule of law.”
“He has been a vital partner to state attorneys general, and to me personally, in dealing with violent crime and in strengthening our efforts to combat America’s opioid crisis,” Marshall wrote in a statement. “While his style was to work quietly behind the scenes, he made a powerful positive difference in rebuilding the confidence of prosecutors and law enforcement personnel across the nation — not just as U.S. attorney general, but also as U.S. senator and Alabama attorney general. My staff and I will greatly miss Jeff’s leadership at the Department of Justice and we wish him all the best.”
Sessions’ departure has led to speculation he may attempt to win his U.S. Senate seat back in 2020 over Democrat Doug Jones. Byrne, who said he has known Sessions for almost 40 years, said the speculation won’t stop him from continuing to pursue his own possible run for the seat.
“It’s too early to say, but it doesn’t affect what I’m doing … ,” Byrne said.
Byrne won his third term in office last night with a win over Democrat Robert Kennedy Jr. He pointed out that Kennedy called him to concede and the two had a “very classy” conversation. Byrne said he admired his “character” and quipped that he hasn’t always gotten a concession call from an opponent.
While Byrne easily retained his seat, nationally Democrats took control of the House from Republicans. Byrne said he has a history of working with the opposition party on issues and will continue to do so.
“When I agree with Democrats, I work with them, but when I don’t agree I can be a pretty fierce adversary,” he said.
As for what Democratic control means in the House, Byrne said he would expect more investigations into Trump and Russian meddling and a possible impeachment attempt, which he called “a waste of time.”
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