I guess when the man you helped get ahead goes on a mission to publicly humiliate you, it puts a real strain on the relationship.
President Trump has the misguided notion that having his earliest and most loyal supporter in the position of attorney general would be an overall shield for any dumb (and potentially illegal) thing he did, as president.
When Jeff Sessions (rightfully) recused himself from any future Russia-related issues, the president apparently felt as if his cover was gone. We have to assume that, since Trump is blaming Sessions for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. That investigation didn’t happen until Trump made it necessary, by admitting to the world on NBC that he’d deliberately attempted to impede an existing investigation into Russian meddling in a U.S. election by firing then-FBI Director James Comey.
So if we’re to take Trump at his word, that the Mueller investigation is Sessions’ fault, then A) Trump knew there was at least a possibility of more Russia revelations coming to the surface, and Sessions knew about it; and/or B) Trump still doesn’t get what it is an attorney general does.
Whatever the case, reports coming out of the White House now are that the once-allies are no longer on speaking terms.
According to Politico, the two are at a stalemate, with Sessions refusing to resign and Trump pushing to see how far he can go.
Aides are actually delivering messages between the two.
And Trump, living in his TV bubble, apparently grows angrier every time there’s another breaking story on a Russian connection. Sessions was supposed to stop this.
“He wants to fire him but he doesn’t want the confrontation,” said one adviser who frequently speaks to him. “He doesn’t mind the long negative storyline. He will torture him every single day.”
This person said Trump also wants to see how Sessions will respond to humiliation and has mocked his response so far.
In the West Wing, there is a growing consensus that Sessions is not long for this world, several officials said. “It’s kind of clear how this ends.”
Surprisingly, there are plenty to speak out against Trump’s treatment of Sessions. More conservative voices are speaking up and warning that this rift and potentially losing Sessions will not work to Trump’s – or the nation’s – benefit, in the long run.
Many have already spoken out against Trump’s passive-aggressive Twitter attacks, with good reason. He’s acting like a scorned 14-year old girl (with all apologies to 14-year old girls, everywhere).
Steve Bannon is said to be leading the charge inside the White House to pull Trump back, in order to keep him from firing Sessions, outright.
“Bannon is a huge fan and trying to keep him alive,” one adviser said. “Bannon will do anything he can to stop that.”
Meanwhile, conservative groups and leaders, from the Tea Party Patriots to former Sen. Jim DeMint, have complained. Usual supporters of Trump have urged the White House to help Trump come to his senses.
“Everyone on the right loves Sessions,” said one White House adviser. “It won’t be good for us if he goes and we are hearing that.”
And with everything going on, can Trump afford to try and get another attorney general through a confirmation process, right now?
For that matter, who would want the job, knowing they are expected to pledge loyalty to the president before their allegiance to law and order?