How’s this for humiliating? Donald Trump reportedly talked to Jeff Sessions’s own top aide about replacing Sessions as attorney general, as Trump continues to rage against Sessions for showing insufficient loyalty to Trump by recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
The conversation between Trump and Matthew G. Whitaker was somewhat nebulous, the people said. It was not clear, for example, whether Whitaker would take over on an interim basis or be nominated in a more permanent capacity, or how definitive the president’s intentions were.
Trump also considered Whitaker, currently Sessions’ chief of staff, to replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after Rosenstein was reported to have suggested—perhaps jokingly—wearing a wire to meetings with Trump to lay the groundwork for removing him from office using the 25th Amendment. Following those reports:
The administration lined up Whitaker to replace Rosenstein in an acting capacity, while Noel Francisco, the solicitor general, would take over supervision of the special counsel probe. The conversation about Whitaker taking over as attorney general occurred around that time, according to people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Trump ended up deciding not to fire Rosenstein (for now), though and hasn’t quite had the nerve to move directly against Sessions, opting instead for trashing him publicly at every turn in an obvious effort to push him to resign. It’s likely Trump will fire both Sessions and Rosenstein after November’s elections.