In private meetings, public appearances on television and late-night phone calls, Trump’s advisers and allies have done all they can to persuade the president not to fire an official he dismisses as disloyal. That may end when Robert Mueller’s probe does.
Days after President Trump deemed Jeff Sessions “beleaguered” and threatened to fire him last July, members of the president’s inner circle made a desperate case to save the attorney general’s job. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and strategist Steve Bannon pleaded with Trump during a heated Oval Office meeting to keep Sessions, warning that his dismissal would only pour gasoline on the Russia investigation. They said it could alienate those in Trump’s conservative base, supporters enamored with the attorney general’s tough stances on law enforcement and immigration, the Associated Press reports.
Priebus and Bannon soon were out of their jobs within the month, and Sessions survived. Ten months later, the Republican campaign to save Sessions has continued and — at least for now — succeeded. In private meetings, public appearances on television and late-night phone calls, Trump’s advisers and allies have done all they can to persuade the president not to fire an official he dismisses as disloyal. This month, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the president had raised the issue again, wondering aloud if he’d made a mistake in not firing Sessions. Both Giuliani and influential Republican lawmakers have hinted that, once special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe wraps up, Sessions could be in danger again. In a tweet Wednesday, Trump again declared he regretted appointing the former Alabama senator to the job in a familiar, but no less stunning, public rebuke of a sitting official. Trump appears to comprehend the potential consequences of firing Sessions and seems resigned to the idea that he’s stuck with him for the time being, according to nearly a dozen people close to the decision. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said he will not schedule a confirmation hearing for another attorney general nominee if Sessions is fired.