INDEPENDENCE, Iowa — Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sounds like he could be done with Jeff Sessions.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said he was less interested in defending Attorney General Jeff Sessions this year, after he warned President Trump last year that he wouldn't want to consider confirming a replacement.
Grassley added that the committee has room on the calendar to consider a replacement for the embattled attorney general if Trump decides to dismiss him after the election.
“The answer that I gave a year ago was directed directly at the president that I honestly didn’t have time to consider anything else. It was also somewhat of a defense of Sessions,” Grassley said. “Now, I’m kind of nonchalant about defending Sessions. I like him very much personally, and I want him to be a good attorney general, but the president’s got a right to have somebody in there he wanted.”
“Yes,” he added when asked about having time on the calendar. “I’m not just saying that not just about Sessions. I got time [for anything].”
Grassley has had a notable falling out with Sessions on policy after the attorney general opposed legislation that would couple prison reform with alterations to mandatory minimum sentences. Sessions has argued against easing sentences for various crimes.
A vote on the bill was expected in late August, but was tabled until after the midterm elections. However, the president said two weeks ago that he would overrule the attorney general, giving Grassley a boost to get the bill passed.
“We haven’t had a sit down conversation about reform,” Grassley said. “But we’ve got the president saying he doesn’t care what Sessions thinks about criminal justice reform.”
“If the president wants to be for it, he’s going to run over him,” Grassley added.