Timeline: How the Trump and Sessions relationship deteriorated

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms NSA whistleblower petitions Trump for clemency Alabama Senate contender hits Sessions in new ad: 'Hillary still ain't in jail' MORE has fallen so far from President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE’s good graces that it is an open question whether he’ll be in the administration much longer.

In interviews and on Twitter, the president has ripped his own attorney general for recusing himself from any oversight of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election.

Trump has called Sessions “beleaguered” and “very weak,” needling the former Alabama senator on a near-daily basis for weeks.


Because the two were once the closest allies, it’s been a shock to former colleagues of Sessions.

Here’s a look at how the Trump-Sessions relationship fell apart.

Aug. 21, 2015

Then-Sen. Sessions briefly took the mic at a Trump rally in the attorney general’s hometown of Mobile, Ala. to welcome the president and thank him for his work on immigration. 

“I'm really impressed with your plan,” Sessions said, providing early support for the eventual GOP nominee at a time when he was battling more than a dozen other GOP rivals for the party’s presidential nomination.

“I know it will make a difference and this crowd shows a lot of people agree with that. Congratulations.”

Trump called Sessions “so great” and said he was “such a help.”


Feb. 28, 2016

Sessions becomes the first member of the Senate to publicly endorsed Trump at a rally in Alabama two days before Super Tuesday.

“I told Donald Trump, this isn’t a campaign, this a movement,” he reportedly said while addressing a crowd of about 32,000. “I believe that the movement is afoot — that must not fade away. It has the potential to have the American people’s voices heard for a change.”

July 18, 2016 

While speaking at the Republican National Convention, Sessions called Trump “a leader who will bring change.”

“He has the strength, the courage and the will to get it done,” he said. “He is attracting more and more Independents and Democrats through our movement. Donald Trump will kill Obama trade. Donald Trump will build the wall and Donald Trump will make American great again.”

Nov. 18, 2016 

President-elect Trump announces his plan to nominate Sessions to be attorney general, calling him “a world-class legal mind.”

Feb. 9, 2017

Sessions is sworn in as attorney general one day after a 52-47 vote in the Senate. Trump says Sessions “will be a great protector of the people.”

“He’s trained better for it than anybody else,” Trump says. “The level of respect that he has throughout this country as a former prosecutor, not even to mention being a long-time U.S. senator, is absolutely incredible.”  

Feb. 11, 2017

Trump issues an executive order to create a task force on violent crime, which Sessions will lead.

March 2, 2017


Sessions recuses himself from any oversight over the Russian probe after The Washington Post reports that he had conversations with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak that he failed to disclose to the Senate.

Hours before the announcement, Trump defends Sessions, saying he has “total” confidence in him.

Trump said that he wasn’t “wasn’t aware” of Sessions’ conversations with Kislyak, but that Sessions “probably did” speak truthfully to the Senate under oath. Trump also said he didn’t think Sessions should have to recuse himself.

March 4, 2017 

Trump takes a jab at Sessions over the Kislyak news, saying that as a nominee, “he could have stated his response more accurately.”

The New York Times, citing people who spoke with the president, reports that Trump was irritated that Sessions hadn’t more carefully answered the questions he was asked under oath.

June 5, 2017


In a string of tweets, Trump criticizes the Justice Department for offering a “watered down” version of his immigration executive order that was blocked by the courts.

He says the Justice Department should have stuck with his original executive action instead of the one that was submitted to the Supreme Court.

July 19, 2017

In an interview with The New York Times, Trump said he never would have appointed Sessions to be the attorney general if he had known Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said.

He also called his recusal “very unfair.”

“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” he reportedly said. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.”


July 22, 2017

Trump fires off a tweet claiming, “so many people are asking” why neither Sessions nor special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE are looking into the “many Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOmar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat Bernie Sanders's Super Tuesday problem Democrats worried about Trump's growing strength MORE or Comey crimes,” referring to former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump commutes sentence of ex-Illinois Gov. Blagojevich A tale of two lies: Stone, McCabe and the danger of a double standard for justice DOJ attorney looking into whether CIA withheld info during start of Russia probe: NYT MORE.



July 24, 2017

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said he’s “very disappointed” with Sessions, but does not say whether he planned to fire him.

“I’m just looking at it,” he said. “I’ll just see. It’s a very important thing.”

Trump also said Sessions’s early endorsement of his campaign “wasn’t a great loyal thing.”

“I won the state by a lot, massive numbers. A lot of the states I won by massive numbers,” he says of Alabama. “But he was a senator, he looks at 40,000 people and he probably says, ’What do I have to lose?’ And he endorsed me. So it’s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement."

July 25, 2017

Trump attacked Sessions via Twitter, calling his position on Hillary Clinton’s crimes “VERY weak.” 

July 26, 2017

Trump continues to vent his frustrations with Sessions on Twitter, questioning why he didn’t fire acting FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeA tale of two lies: Stone, McCabe and the danger of a double standard for justice Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump Barr back on the hot seat MORE.

“Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got... big dollars ($700,000) for his wife's political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!” he said in a string of tweets.”