Things are not going well for the Trump regime, as The Donald does not tolerate failure among his minions, and this week has been nothing but across-the-board disaster with Jeff Sessions and Obamacare repeal.
“We should have had a good week. We should have had a good weekend. But once again, back to Russia," a senior White House official said, expressing the frustration simmering in the West Wing following the news earlier in the week that Sessions failed to disclose during his confirmation process that he had met with the Russian ambassador twice during the election campaign. Sessions at the time was a senator on the Armed Services Committee and was also helping the Trump campaign.
Among those gathered in the Oval Office on Friday: Chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, White House Counsel Don McGahn, press secretary Sean Spicer, newly-hired Communications Director Mike Dubke, along with Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, the sources said.
With Marine One waiting on the South Lawn, Trump and his team engaged in an animated exchange -- captured by press pool cameras peering in through the windows from the White House South Lawn. Trump then left the office for the helicopter, taking the hands of his young grandchildren and joined by his daughter Ivanka and Kushner.
Priebus and Bannon were planning to join the trip, but suddenly after the president's eruption those plans changed. One source said both men volunteered to stay behind in Washington, with another source saying the president seemed to concur that they should. Sidelining key staffers with whom he was angry was an occasional Trump tactic during the campaign.
As President Trump was in the air aboard Marine One headed for Air Force One on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews, a last-minute phone call was made from the West Wing to the team on board the president’s plane with a directive to remove Priebus and Bannon from the manifest, sources said. They would not be coming to the Sunshine State.
Both Priebus and Bannon have been grounded, and now Sessions is on the outs as well. It seems Jared Kushner is now the new favorite lieutenant in the ranks. The larger issue is that Trump now knows his team can't stop the leaks coming from the White House, and with Sessions, he now knows that his team has not been straight with him, either.
If you thought Trump was in full paranoia Nixon bunker mentality before, well, I think we haven't seen anything yet. Stay tuned.