Donald Trump has it out for Jeff Sessions, as White House shakeup rumors swirl

The president is determined to overhaul his administration so that he can stop leaks and the Russia scandal

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 25, 2017 7:49AM (EDT)

Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump at a rally in Madison, Alabama, February 28, 2016.   (Reuters/Marvin Gentry)
Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump at a rally in Madison, Alabama, February 28, 2016. (Reuters/Marvin Gentry)

President Donald Trump is continuing his political assault against his own attorney general, a remarkable spectacle in a city that usually prizes loyalty above all other qualities.

His latest attack on Sessions occurred on Tuesday morning via the president's favorite forum, Twitter.

Trump recently called a close political associate in order to ask, "What would happen if I fired Sessions?" according to a report by "Axios." The associate replied, "If you're going to fire people at Justice, don't you want to save that bullet for Mueller?" Reports of Trump wanting to fire Sessions were pretty much confirmed by the new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, Tuesday morning.

There have already been reports that Trump would replace Sessions with someone he believes would have a thicker skin to political pressure, such as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Of course, Giuliani's favor in the president's eyes may not remain high given his recent statement that he believes Sessions "made the right decision under the rules of the Justice Department."

While Trump may be tempted to fire Sessions, he is desperate to rid himself of the leakers and (what he believes to be) poor personnel that he perceives as weakening his presidency, particularly when it comes to counteracting the ongoing Russia scandal. That task appears to have been left with Scaramucci, according to a report by "The Washington Post."

In consultation with confidants inside and outside the administration, Scaramucci has begun undertaking an audit of the White House’s dozens of press and communications staffers. He is meeting one-on-one with aides in an effort to understand each person’s contributions and weed out those he determines are not working hard enough to defend the president through the crises besieging the White House, according to several of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal issues.

There are a few Trump press and communications aides whose jobs are secure, including director of strategic communications Hope Hicks, director of social media Dan Scavino and newly promoted press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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