Before spending a full year publicly berating his attorney general and his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump tried to get Jeff Sessions to change his mind about the probe, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Sessions was reportedly dispatched to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in March 2017 to try to get the President to make an important decision about his travel ban. Instead Trump scolded Sessions about his recusal and asked him to “reverse his decision,” in the Times’ words.
Sessions refused and the Mar-a-Lago conversation is now being probed by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Trump’s attacks on his attorney general this past year and his attempts to get Sessions to leave the administration.
Trump was fixated on Sessions’ recusal for months last year and even floated the idea of Sessions reversing his decision to aides, people briefed on the matter told the Times. Trump reportedly argued that former President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, “would never have recused himself from a case that threatened to tarnish” Obama, and Trump told advisers he wanted that same brand of allegiance from his attorney general, according to the Times.
While Sessions and Trump used to be friends — they often had meals together and regularly spoke on the phone before the recusal, per the Times — the two now rarely speak outside of meetings and even took separate flights to attend the same event in New Hampshire in March, according to current and former White House officials who spoke with the Times.
Trump has also reportedly told friends he wants to get rid of Sessions, but won’t because Senate Republicans have signaled they won’t approved another attorney general.