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How Trump and Sessions's relationship deteriorated

Former attorney General Jeff Sessions was one of the earliest supporters of President Donald Trump, but over time their relationship became strained.

Posted: Nov 8, 2018 9:15 AM
Updated: Nov 8, 2018 9:33 AM

A day after voters chose divided government by handing the House majority back to Democrats, President Donald Trump made the sort of I-do-what-feels-right-when-it-feels-right move that has become his hallmark over his past three years in political life: He fired Jeff Sessions.

And in so doing, Trump appears to have wrestled back operational control of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the possibility of collusion between Trump's campaign and a foreign power.

In firing Sessions -- by tweet, natch -- Trump announced that Matt Whitaker, Sessions' chief of staff at Justice, would become the acting Attorney General, a post he can hold for roughly 200 days because he has not been confirmed previously by the Senate.

But even having Whitaker in the job for the next 100 days could be enough for Trump. Whitaker has been openly critical of the breadth of Mueller's investigation and even mused on this chain of events in a 2017 interview with CNN:

"I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced, it would recess appointment and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigations grinds to almost a halt."

Given Whitaker's past comments, Democrats immediately called on him to recuse himself from oversight of the Muller probe. Which, um, ain't happening.

Trump got rid of Sessions because he could never forgive the former Alabama Senator for recusing himself in the Russia probe, a recusal that placed deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in charge of the investigation and, in Trump's mind, led to the Mueller appointment.

And, Trump could have simply promoted Rosenstein to Sessions' job but passed over him for Whitaker. That Rosenstein has repeatedly expressed his support for Sessions, Mueller and the special counsel probe is not a coincidence in his being passed over for the job.

Don't believe me on Trump's intentions as it relates to the Russia probe. Believe Trump himself. Here's what he said about the probe -- and his role in it -- during a press conference Wednesday:

"I stay away from it. But you know what I do? I let it just go on. They're wasting a lot of money, but I let it go on, because I don't want to do that. But you're right; I could end it right now. I could say, 'That investigation is over.'"

Ahem. Cough.

Ominous, no? Especially when you consider that, according to the reporting, Trump knew Sessions was already out when he held the press conference. (White House chief of staff John Kelly fired Sessions on Wednesday morning.)

So, Trump has referred to the Mueller probe as a witch hunt and a hoax more than 160 times since it began last spring. He has said it is a waste of money and sought to discredit not only Mueller but the investigators he has hired to work for the special counsel's office. And he got rid of a guy who supported the probe, passed over another guy who also approved of the probe and chose as acting attorney general a guy who has said all sorts of negative things about the probe.

The Point: All the lights are blinking red. ALL OF THEM.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 96677

Reported Deaths: 2911
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7143160
DeSoto559460
Harrison388374
Jackson350570
Madison331089
Rankin330679
Lee273670
Forrest248973
Jones248779
Washington225977
Lafayette219139
Lauderdale2059125
Bolivar184566
Oktibbeha179952
Lamar171635
Lowndes158058
Neshoba1579104
Panola149930
Sunflower147146
Leflore141081
Warren140750
Pontotoc127816
Pike124051
Monroe123568
Copiah119133
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall110617
Lincoln110253
Holmes109859
Grenada109036
Yazoo106230
Simpson104646
Tate100437
Union99824
Leake96038
Adams94137
Wayne90421
Pearl River89253
Marion86535
Prentiss86217
Covington82722
Itawamba82621
Alcorn82011
George78013
Tallahatchie77321
Newton77224
Winston74219
Tishomingo69038
Chickasaw68424
Tippah67117
Attala66725
Walthall60126
Clarke60046
Clay59518
Hancock58722
Jasper57515
Noxubee55116
Smith53415
Calhoun52112
Tunica49715
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46420
Yalobusha43514
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38817
Humphreys37715
Quitman3775
Stone37412
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33210
Carroll31912
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2273
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
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