The New York Times is reporting that the relationship between Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions is under great strain. The president is reportedly angry that Sessions recused himself from overseeing the investigation, a move that took Trump by surprise and that he felt was unnecessary, and Trump’s grousing has gotten to Sessions. “Sessions offered to resign in recent weeks as he told President Trump he needed the freedom to do his job, according to two people who were briefed on the discussion,” says the Times. “The president turned down the offer, but on Tuesday, the White House declined to say whether Mr. Trump still had confidence in his attorney general.”
This story overlaps with a separate report that fired FBI Director James Comey, while he still had his position, told Sessions that he didn’t want to be left alone with the president. Comey’s request came in response to Trump allegedly urging him to drop the FBI’s investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Taken together, these reports demonstrate that the Russia investigation is the major wellspring of discord in the White House. The fraying of the Trump-Sessions relationship is particularly notable because Sessions is ideologically sympathetic to Trump. He was one of the first elected Republican officials to support Trump during the campaign, and the two men share a passion for nationalism infused with white identity politics. But Russia divides even the closest of allies.