Trump ‘frus­trated and dis­ap­pointed’

Pres­i­dent asks about fir­ing Ses­sions, calls his po­si­tion ‘weak’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD - BY JONATHAN LEMIRE AND JILL COLVIN

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has spo­ken with ad­vis­ers about fir­ing At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, of­fi­cials say, and launched a fresh Twit­ter tirade Tues­day against the man who was the first U.S. se­na­tor to en­dorse his can­di­dacy.

“At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions has taken a VERY weak po­si­tion on Hil­lary Clin­ton crimes (where are Emails & DNC server) & In­tel leak­ers!” Trump tweeted.

The pres­i­dent’s anger over Ses­sions’ de­ci­sion to re­cuse him­self from the gov­ern­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Rus­sian med­dling in the U.S. elec­tion had burst into public view Mon­day when he re­ferred to Ses­sions in a tweet as “be­lea­guered.” Pri­vately, Trump has spec­u­lated aloud to al­lies in re­cent days about the po­ten­tial con­se­quences of fir­ing Ses­sions, ac­cord­ing to three peo­ple who have re­cently spo­ken to the pres­i­dent. They spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

On Tues­day, White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” that the pres­i­dent is “frus­trated and dis­ap­pointed” with Ses­sions for re­cus­ing him­self from the Rus­sia probe.

“That frus­tra­tion cer­tainly hasn’t gone away. And I don’t think it will,” she said.

Trump of­ten talks about mak­ing staff changes with­out fol­low­ing through, so those who have spo­ken with the pres­i­dent cau­tioned that a change may not be im­mi­nent or hap­pen at all.

“So why aren’t the Com­mit­tees and in­ves­ti­ga­tors, and of course our be­lea­guered A.G., look­ing into Crooked Hil­larys crimes & Rus­sia re­la­tions?” the pres­i­dent tweeted Mon­day. His tweet came just hours be­fore his son-in-law, White House se­nior ad­viser Jared Kush­ner, trav­elled to Capi­tol Hill to be in­ter­viewed about his meet­ings with Rus­sians.

Trump’s rapid-fire tweet­ing re­sumed at day­break Tues­day, with the pres­i­dent won­der­ing aloud about Ses­sions’ “VERY weak” po­si­tion on “Hil­lary Clin­ton crimes.”

In an­other post to his Twit­ter ac­count, Trump said: “Ukrainian ef­forts to sab­o­tage Trump cam­paign — qui­etly work­ing to boost Clin­ton. So where is the in­ves­ti­ga­tion A.G.”

He also mocked the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion in congress, sug­gest­ing that Congress might want to talk to his 11-year-old son af­ter it fin­ished with Kush­ner.

“Jared Kush­ner did very well yes­ter­day in prov­ing he did not col­lude with the Rus­sians. Witch Hunt. Next up, 11 year old Barron Trump!” he tweeted.

Trump’s in­ten­si­fy­ing crit­i­cism of Ses­sions has fu­eled spec­u­la­tion that Ses­sions may re­sign even if Trump opts not to fire him. Dur­ing an event at the White House, Trump ig­nored a shouted ques­tion about whether Ses­sions should step down. The at­tor­ney gen­eral said last week he in­tended to stay in his post.

If Trump were to fire Ses­sions, Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein would be el­e­vated to the top post on an act­ing ba­sis. That would leave the pres­i­dent with an­other at­tor­ney gen­eral of whom he has been sharply crit­i­cal in both public and pri­vate for his han­dling of the Rus­sia probe, ac­cord­ing to four White House and out­side ad­vis­ers who, like oth­ers in­ter­viewed, spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

It could also raise the spectre of Trump ask­ing Rosen­stein - or whomever he ap­points to fill the po­si­tion - to fire Robert Mueller, the spe­cial coun­sel lead­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sia’s med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion and po­ten­tial col­lu­sion with Trump’s cam­paign.

AP PHOTO

In this July 21 photo, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions speaks in Philadelphia.

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