You may have seen the big headlines in the political world today: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose confirmation hearings earlier this year were already controversial enough, has recused himself from any investigation into Trump's relationship to Russia after it came to light that Sessions had met with the Russian ambassador during the campaign, despite having testified at his confirmation hearings that he had no contact with Russia during the campaign.
By all accounts, Sessions testimony lands somewhere along the continuum of "inaccurate" to "misleading" to "a lie," which is not where you want to be as the nation's top prosecutor (or as anyone testifying under oath).
Top Republicans and Democrats' response to all this could fairly be paraphrased as: "Whaaaaaaat?!"
Key members of both parties agreed that Sessions should at least step down from any Trump-Russia related investigations, though lead Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer wanted more: Sessions resignation. Don't expect Sessions to step down anytime soon (or without further development), but Sessions's moral and ethical standing in the Department of Justice is decidedly on notice.
And while no Republicans are calling for Sessions's resignation yet, none of this can be pleasing Trump. Make no mistake: The President did express his full confidence in Sessions, even saying he didn't think the Attorney General needed to recuse himself, on the basis of his Russian contact or his confirmation hearing testimony. Press Secretary Spicer agreed. Later in the day, when Sessions went ahead and recused himself anyway, he said of Trump and Spicer: "I feel like they don’t know the rules, the ethics rules. Most people don’t. But when you evaluate the rules, I feel like ... I should not be involved investigating a campaign I had a role in."
Whether Sessions realizes it or not, this is the second time he's made Trump look out-of-the-loop in 24 hours. And it's the second time he's found himself at the center of an intense controversy since being tapped for Attorney General.
And this all comes just in time to step all over the best news cycle of Trump's presidency, after his favorably received joint session address to Congress.
Privately the President is probably fuming, though publicly he has his AG's back: "(Sessions) could have stated his response more accurately," Trump said today, trying to minimize the fracas. But as we've seen in the case of former NSA Director Michael Flynn, in this administration, you can go from full faith to fully unemployed within a day -- especially if Russia's in the mix.