Speed Reads

white house drama

Report: After special counsel appointment, Trump berated Sessions, told him to resign

After finding out that a special counsel had been appointed to take over the federal investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia, President Trump went off on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, blaming this turn of events on Sessions having recused himself from overseeing the investigation and demanding his resignation, several current and former Trump administration officials told The New York Times.

This is the first time details of the May 17 meeting in the Oval Office, also attended by Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Don McGahn, have been published. During the meeting, McGahn received a phone call from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who informed him of his decision to appoint Mueller as special counsel, following pressure from Congress. After he told Trump, the president called Sessions an "idiot" and said choosing him as his attorney general was one of the worst decisions he made.

An upset Sessions — who later told associates this was the most humiliating experience he'd had in his professional career — said he would quit, and sent a resignation letter to the White House, four people with knowledge of the meeting told the Times, but other administration officials talked Trump out of accepting it, saying it would look bad to let go of the attorney general after already firing former FBI Director James Comey and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (this would also happen again in July, the Times reports). Read more about the Oval Office blow up and its aftermath at The New York Times.