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The day we all knew was coming has finally arrived: Donald Trump fired Jeff Sessions, ending the extended ritual humiliation of the attorney general whom the president never forgave for failing to put him above the law. But it wasn’t always thus. Long before Sessions was on the receiving end of Trump’s Twitter lashings, the two were anti-immigration crusaders and early allies. How did it all go so wrong?
Anti-immigration mind meld: What brought the two together? Immigration. Sessions staked out a position for himself in the senate as an immigration hawk even within the Republican caucus. When Republican leaders like Marco Rubio, John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Lindsey Graham formed the right flank of an immigration reform “Gang of Eight” in 2013 alongside senate Democratic heavyweights, it was Sessions who helped kill the nascent effort at a bipartisan bill. In 2014, he took the consolation prize of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s immigration subcommittee chairmanship and turned himself into the upper chamber’s leading anti-immigration hawk.