On Friday morning, joined by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained that the Department of Justice is doubling down on its leak investigations. Too many matters of national security and foreign policy, Sessions said, are finding their way into the press.
We didn't learn anything new, and that tells us something all by itself: Namely, that this press statement was simply aimed at appeasing the president.
Relations between Sessions and his boss remain exceptionally poor. Trump believes that Sessions has been ineffective both in cracking down on leakers and in preventing the continuation of the Russia-collusion investigations. By pledging action against leakers, Sessions thus hopes that he can appease the president's anger.
He probably won't succeed. For a start, Trump's real gripe is not leaks per se, but leaks that make him look bad. Leaks, that is, which show Trump in an either untruthful or idiotic light. The president is happy to leak stories that present him in a positive light. And that's not going to change.
But nor will Sessions change his judgement to keep out of the way of Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Of course, Trump wanted him to be involved, but Sessions isn't budging. He knows what Trump apparently does not: that attempting to obstruct the Russia investigations would destroy Trump's presidency. Ironically, this judicious political sense makes Sessions one of Trump's best allies. The president just doesn't realize it.