Attorney General Jeff Sessions has desperately tried to fix the strained ties with President Donald Trump by aggressively enacting his administration's agenda. But ultimately, there's one thing that Trump seems to want, and it's the one thing that Sessions can't do: un-recuse himself from the ongoing Russia probe.
Sessions has continually asked White House aides to ensure that Trump is kept abreast of his activities at the Justice Department, two White House advisers told The Washington Post. Sessions has also hoped that his policy decisions at the department will generate positive news coverage that would keep Trump happy with his job performance.
This comes as Sessions' first year in office was filled with moves that aligned with the president's domestic agenda, including widespread immigration crackdowns and a revamp of the so-called war on drugs.
But devout loyalty has always been key for Trump, and it seems as if even one perceived slip up could jeopardize any relationship he may have. Sessions was one of Trump's earliest and most staunch supporters on the campaign trail, but the president still feels betrayed by his recusal from the Russia probe and often groans about it privately. Sessions's reasons for recusal are highlighted in the video below.
"Weak," the president has said of Sessions, according to the Post. "He should have never recused himself."
"He’s one of the most active Cabinet secretaries there is," a White House official told the paper. "He’s done a fine job. Does it wash away the sin of recusal? I don’t think so."
In some instances, Trump has shaken his head when Sessions would appear on television, and has blamed him — at least in part — for the loss of his former seat in the Senate. The irony in that notion, of course, is that Trump offered Sessions the top position at the Justice Department, which is why the seat was left vacant in the first place, as Salon has previously reported.
There's so much bad blood between Trump and Sessions that the president has expressed anger over Kate McKinnon's "Saturday Night Live" caricature of Sessions and has referred to it as "insulting," the Post reported.
Sessions has curried favor to Republicans by directing "senior federal prosecutors to look into a host of matters that Republicans had asked him to investigate, including Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia," the Post reported.
The foiled relationship between the two shows that Trump's interests lie in one place and one place only: himself. While Trump is surely pleased with Sessions's swift action at the Justice Department, his recusal from the Russia probe has still left a bad taste in the president's mouth, despite his advisers telling him to give Sessions a second chance.