NYT: Trump Still Rages At Sessions’ Recusal From Russia Probe

Evan Vucci/AP

President Donald Trump’s raging Twitter dispatches at his own Justice Department Monday were informed in part by his anger at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Trump associates’ potential collusion with Russia, according to the New York Times.

The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.” Trump wrote on Twitter Monday, referring to executive orders he signed. “The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court – & seek much tougher version!”

The Times, citing unnamed people close to Trump, reported later Monday that Trump has fumed at Sessions for months over his recusal from the Russia investigation. Trump, the sources said, believed Sessions’ recusal led eventually to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel in charge of the investigation.

Trump only learned of Sessions’ recusal — which the attorney general announced on March 2 after it was revealed he had had undisclosed meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the United States — in the middle of another event, unnamed people close to the President told the paper.

Trump has expressed his frustration publicly, on his Twitter account, trying to pin the scandal on the Obama administration.

An unnamed senior White House source told ABC News at the time that Trump had gone “ballistic” over the recusal. The Washington Post’s Robert Costa wrote, citing unnamed “aides familiar,” that “Trump left WH in a fury on Friday, fuming about Sessions’s recusal and telling aides that Sessions shouldn’t have recused himself.” Costa added that Trump thought “Sessions/WH/DOJ should have done more to counter Sessions story, that it was ‘bull.’”

An unnamed source close to Trump told the Post’s Philip Rucker: “He’s in a very [expletive] bad mood today. He is a bear.”

Two days after Sessions’ recusal, and without any evidence to this day to support the accusation, Trump said that President Barack Obama had ordered Trump Tower wiretapped.

The Times reported Monday, citing four unnamed people familiar with the incident, that Trump had “unleashed his fury” at White House aides the day after the recusal. An unnamed senior administration official told the Times, in the paper’s words, that Trump “has not stopped burning about the decision, in occasional spurts, toward Mr. Sessions.”

Still, the Times’ sources said, Trump was wary of more firings, after the ouster of FBI Director James Comey caused such an outcry.

At his daily press briefing Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about Trump’s “level of confidence in the attorney general, Jeff Sessions.”

“I have not had a discussion with him about that,” Spicer said, refusing to go further.

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK