- Jonathan Drake/Reuters
President Donald Trump is losing patience with his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, The New York Times reported on Monday evening.
Citing people close to Trump, The Times said the president was incensed by the Justice Department’s handling of his now-blocked travel ban and Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation – a move that ultimately led to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel in charge of the inquiry.
Trump was caught off-guard by Sessions’ recusal and learned of it “when he was in the middle of another event,” Times reporters Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman wrote.
A day after learning of Sessions’ recusal, Trump took his anger out on aides at the Oval Office, according to four people that were familiar with the incident, The Times said. After that incident, Trump tweeted is now-infamous and widely debunked claim that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretapping operation at Trump Tower.
On Monday morning, Trump also continued his crusade against the Department of Justice’s role in implementing his immigration executive order that was twice struck down nationwide by appeals courts. Trump’s social-media outrage against the DOJ continued on Monday evening, after people close to his administration openly criticized him for it.
“They wholly undercut the idea that there is some rational process behind the president’s decisions,” said former acting solicitor general Walter Dellinger, in The Times’ report. “I believe it is unprecedented for a president to publicly chastise his own Justice Department.”
Alan Dershowitz, a professor at Harvard Law School offered a potential defense of Trump’s DOJ-targeted tweets: “What he’s saying is, ‘I’m the president, I’m the tough guy, I wanted a very tough travel ban and the damn lawyers are weakening it’ – and clients complain about lawyers all the time,” said Dershowitz in an interview with The Times. “I see this more as a client complaining about his lawyer. The lawyer in this case happens to be Jeff Sessions.”