Seized by paroxysms of anger, Trump has intermittently pushed to fire his attorney general since March 2017, when Sessions announced his recusal from the Russia investigation. If Sessions’ recusal was his original sin, Trump has come to resent him for other reasons, griping to aides and lawmakers that the attorney general doesn’t have the Ivy League pedigree the president prefers, that he can’t stand his Southern accent and that Sessions isn’t a capable defender of the president on television — in part because he “talks like he has marbles in his mouth,” the president has told aides.
The impetus for Trump’s latest push, according to two White House aides, was the dual convictions last week of his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen and his former campaign manager Paul Manafort — outgrowths of the Russia probe, for which the president pointed the finger at Sessions. Trump fumed on Fox News that Sessions “never took control of the Justice Department” and that “the only reason I gave him the job is because I felt loyalty.”
Top Senate Republicans see their job, in part, as blocking Trump’s worst moves, several senators said this week. Firing Sessions at this time, or moving against Mueller, fall into those categories.
Sessions maintains the critical support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who told reporters Tuesday, “I have total confidence in the attorney general; I think he ought to stay exactly where he is.” McConnell’s No. 2, Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), has joined Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) in making public statements of support for Sessions in recent days.