Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation has been an ongoing source of conflict.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered his resignation to President Donald Trump amid Trump’s rising frustration with the series of events that culminated in the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his campaign’s contacts with Russian officials during last year’s election.
Trump ultimately refused Sessions’ offer, which came just before Trump embarked on his first international trip in late May, according to a person who regularly speaks with Sessions. This person said the attorney general offered to resign out of a sense of obligation because he was aware of how angered Trump was about his decision to recuse from the Russia investigations in March.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not respond to a request for comment about Sessions’ resignation offer. Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment.
In recent days however, and with fired FBI Director James Comey’s Thursday testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee set to once again put the spotlight on the Russia investigation, the White House and Trump have declined to give Sessions a vote of confidence.
Trump has continuously — sometimes publicly — expressed his frustration with Sessions’ decision to formally step back from any investigation of Russian election interference. A day after Sessions announced his recusal, Trump gathered his senior aides in the Oval Office for a meeting, during which he fumed about Sessions’ decision.
Trump has been furious about the series of investigations into Russia — which dismisses as a “witch hunt.” The president traces a direct line between Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from any Russia investigation to where he stands now: With former FBI Director Robert Mueller appointed as a special counsel and with intense public focus on the Russia investigation.