- The Mueller report revealed that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions carried a letter of resignation with him every time he went to the White House after Trump launched a Twitter tirade against him.
- Sessions ultimately resigned from his post at the Justice Department in November 2018.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
WASHINGTON – Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions carried a letter of resignation with him every time he went to the White House for nearly a year, according to testimony revealed in the special counsel report released Thursday.
After Sessions recused himself from all inquiries into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which included the probe headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, Sessions’ relationship with Trump soured to the point that he was ready to quit his post as top law enforcement officer at a moment’s notice.
In a passage examining testimony from Sessions’ then-chief of staff Jody Hunt, as well as other evidence, Mueller’s team detailed a tense standoff in the White House during the summer of 2017.
Trump had pressured former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus to oust Sessions from the Department of Justice. In an interview with Mueller’s investigators, Priebus “believed that his job depended on whether he followed the order to remove Sessions, although the President did not directly say so.”
“Even though Priebus did not intend to carry out the President’s directive, he told the President he would get Sessions to resign,” the report reads. “Later in the day, Priebus called the President and explained that it would be a calamity if Sessions resigned because Priebus expected that Rosenstein and Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand would also resign and the President would bc unable to get anyone else confirmed. The President agreed to hold off on demanding Sessions’s resignation until after the Sunday shows the next day, to prevent the shows from focusing on the firing.”
Later that week in July of 2017, Priebus said Trump decided against asking for Sessions’ resignation, but engaged in a series of tweets referring to the attorney general as “beleaguered.”
The repeated attacks on Sessions, coupled with increasing pressures about the future of his tenure at the Justice Department, prompted the attorney general to craft a letter of resignation.
“According to Hunt, in light of the president’s frequent public attacks, Sessions prepared another resignation letter and for the rest of the year carried it with him in his pocket every time he went to the White House,” the report reads.
Trump’s relationship with Sessions started strong during the presidential campaign, when the then-Alabama senator became the first high-profile lawmaker to endorse him. But the two grew apart as Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe.
Also revealed in Mueller report was an instance in which Trump lashed out at Sessions for recusing himself and characterized the special counsel as “terrible” and the “end of my presidency.”