On CNN this morning, Daily Beast editor-in-chief and CNN analyst John Avlon said that President Trump is “trying to back channel the Saturday Night Massacre.” That was a reference to the episode during the Watergate investigation in which President Nixon ordered the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, leading to the resignations of the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, who refused to carry out Nixon’s order.

Avlon painted a scenario in which, under pressure from President Trump, Sessions resigns. Trump would then appoint a new attorney general who would declare himself capable of carrying out the Russia investigation, cast the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller as a “terrible distraction,” and presumably fire him.

JOHN AVLON: Look, he’s trying to back channel the Saturday night massacre, that’s what’s happening. If Sessions resigns, then you appoint someone else who then assumes power —

CHRIS CILLIZZA: That’s right.

AVLON: — and says the special counsel thing is really a terrible distraction and as Chris said, you know, I’m going to be in a position to investigate more effectively because I’m not directly connected with the campaign, depending on who it is. And that’s the larger game here.

It’s also about repeated attempts, you know, he goes after the independent journalists, and independent judiciary consistently, because those are forces that can constrain and hold presidential power accountable and that’s why this all demands our attention. And the Hillary Clinton stuff is simply because the only thing that unites his coalition right now seems to be hatred of Hillary Clinton. It’s a Golden Oldies station.

Note: Avlon also claimed that hatred of Hillary Clinton is “the only thing that unites [Trump’s] coalition right now.” He was the second CNNer to take a swipe at the Trump base. Earlier, David Gregory said that a large part of “Trump nation” is the “nativist right.” Nativist is a term understood on the left as the equivalent of racist, as explained  here.

Note: President Trump does continue to criticize Sessions, as in his tweet of this morning.