Insiders who were briefed on a discussion between President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have said that in recent weeks, Sessions had offered to resign from his position. The President allegedly turned down the Attorney General’s offer. They also suggested that Sessions told the president he needed to be reassured that he had the freedom to do his job properly. The White House has declined to comment on whether Trump has confidence in Sessions moving forward.
Asked about the reports during a press briefing this week, Sessions said that he has not had a discussion with the president about Sessions. The news comes after a report was published by The New York Times, claiming that Trump has become discontented with the performed of Sessions.
Anonymous Sources in the New York Times Report
In the report, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman claimed that Trump’s discontent with Sessions was clear after a number of early morning tweets. In these tweets, the president blamed his Justice Department of creating a new, “politically correct” version of his travel ban, which stops people from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days.
The journalists also claimed that Trump has intermittently feuded with Sessions over a period of months, as a result of his decision to recuse himself from being involved with the Russia probe. Trump is said to believe that it was this recusal that resulted in the special counsel, which now oversees the investigation, being appointed. The claims come from sources who insisted on maintaining their anonymity, The New York Times says.
If true, then it wouldn’t be the first time that a president has had disagreements with the Justice Department. Famously, President Bill Clinton publicly battled with the decision of Janet Reno, the then-Attorney General, to authorize investigations into the actions of the president and his administration.
Public Signs of Disagreement
In further tweets, President Trump wrote that the Justice Department should have kept his original travel ban proposal, and not watered it down in order to appeal to left-wing courts and judges. He also said that the Justice Department should have asked for an expedited hearing about the second version of the travel ban, before reaching out to the Supreme Court, and that they should have been pushing a tougher version of the order.
White House representatives didn’t have much to say about Trump’s comments when pushed on the issue on Monday. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, an official spokeswoman for the White House, and occasional stand-in for Press Secretary Sean Spicer, said Trump only signed the revised order in an attempt to convince the California courts of appeal. Specifically, she said the president was looking to meet the demands that had been set out by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and considered it the best way to move forward with the ban.
Another anonymous source speaking to the New York Times, who claims to be familiar with the ongoing issue, claimed that Sessions offered his resignation days before Trump went on a nine-day-long foreign trip. When asked about the issue, a spokesperson for Sessions declined to comment. The White House also declined to comment when reached out to by The New York Times.
Sessions has also expressed unhappiness with the way that Trump works. Further anonymous sources speaking to The New York Times claimed that Sessions was unhappy in March of this year when Trump decided that Governor Chris Christie would be in charge of a new task force designed to take on the opioid crisis.