Back at the White House on Friday morning, Trump summoned his senior aides into the Oval Office, where he simmered with rage, according to several White House officials. He upbraided them over Sessions’s decision to recuse himself, believing that Sessions had succumbed to pressure from the media and other critics instead of fighting with the full defenses of the White House.
In a huff, Trump departed for Mar-a-Lago, taking with him from his inner circle only his daughter and Kushner, who is a White House senior adviser. His top two aides, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Bannon, stayed behind in Washington.
As reporters began to hear about the Oval Office meeting, Priebus interrupted his Friday afternoon schedule to dedicate more than an hour to calling reporters off the record to deny that the outburst had actually happened, according to a senior White House official.
“Every time there’s a palace intrigue story or negative story about Reince, the whole West Wing shuts down,” the official said.
Ultimately, Priebus was unable to kill the story. He simply delayed the bad news, as reports of Trump dressing down his staff were published by numerous outlets Saturday.