President Trump, infuriated by the naming of the special counsel in the Russia investigation in May, exchanged heated words with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett confirmed. Afterwards, Sessions tried to resign.
The New York Times first reported that Mr. Trump called Sessions an idiot for recusing himself from the Russia probe and told him that he should resign. In Mr. Trump's mind, the recusal enabled the naming of the special counsel. It was according to the Times, deeply personally insulting to Sessions -- the most humiliating experience of his public life, which spans over 40 years.
Subsequently, the attorney general wrote and submitted a resignation letter to the president, Garrett reported, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
White House officials intervened to calm the president and prevent the ouster of Sessions, which would have both incited movement conservatives who support Sessions, as well as his former colleagues in the Senate, Garrett confirmed.
Mr. Trump wanted to get rid of Sessions a second time, in July, Garrett reports, days after he had told the Times that he never would have appointed Sessions if he had known that he would recuse himself in the Russia investigation.
Though he did not accept Sessions' resignation, Mr. Trump continued to poke at his attorney general over Twitter for not opening an investigation against Hillary Clinton.
Sessions called the attacks "hurtful," but he has nonetheless persevered. He was the first senator to support Mr. Trump's presidential candidacy, announcing his endorsement just before Super Tuesday.