Footage has emerged allegedly showing the moments, during a stormy Oval Office meeting on Friday, that President Donald Trump erupted in an angry tirade against Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and other senior advisers. In an “expletive-ridden” tirade, Trump reportedly lashed out at his senior staff and communication officers for failing to effectively counter recent allegations against Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sessions was accused of lying under oath by failing to disclose contacts he had with Russian officials during the election campaign. The accusations forced Sessions on Thursday to recuse himself from all FBI investigations into alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
According to CNN, Trump expressed deep frustration with his senior staff and communications team over their handling of the Sessions revelations and accused them of allowing it to overshadow the message of his much-praised address to Congress and the positive media coverage that followed.
Trump allegedly took out the frustration of the events that led to Sessions’ recusal on his senior advisers and other members of his administration’s inner circle on Friday.
In Trump’s opinion, his staff failed to react effectively following the furor generated by the Washington Post article published on March 1, which revealed that Sessions had met with the Russian ambassador twice but failed under oath to disclose the information.
Trump reportedly expressed frustration over the continued attacks by the media. He blamed the intelligence leaks undermining his administration on Obama administration holdovers in the intelligence community.
Another source in the Oval Office revealed that the “animated discussion” during the meeting between Trump and his senior advisers on Friday, involved other issues, such as the pending immigration executive order and ongoing efforts to repeal and replace Obama’s healthcare law.
The video, captured by press pool cameras from the White House South Lawn, shows Trump’s senior adviser Steve Bannon in the Oval Office on Friday, involved in a heated exchange during a meeting attended, according to ABC News, by senior adviser Steve Bannnon, White House Counsel Don McGahn, Communications Director Mike Dubke, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
It is not possible to determine from the footage what Bannon was talking about or who he was arguing with at the time he was filmed through the Oval Office window. But the video shows the former executive chair of the far-right news website, Breitbart, waving his arms in the air in apparent frustration.
The footage shows Ivanka Trump to the left with her back to the door and her husband Jared Kushner in the background, according to the Daily Mail.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is also visible in the background.
Trump was reportedly very upset about Attorney General Jeff Session’s recusal following claims that during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he lied under oath by failing to disclose his contact with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 election campaign
According to ABC News, sources within the White House said Trump felt that Sessions’ recusal was unnecessary and that it only served to embolden the enemies of his administration.
Sessions apparently announced his decision to recuse himself from investigations into Russian ties without Trump’s prior knowledge. Trump learned about it soon after he told reporters while visiting U.S.S. Gerald Ford in Virginia (see footage below) that he had confidence in Sessions and that he would not ask him to recuse himself.
According to CNN, a source familiar with goings on in the White House said that Trump’s temper tantrum against his staff occurred after he returned to Washington, D.C., from Virginia. Trump was reportedly concerned that the allegations against his attorney general had overshadowed the positive impact of his much-praised speech to Congress.
The source told CNN said that in the weeks before the Sessions story broke, Trump has been showing growing impatience and anger with his senior staff and communications team for allowing the media and the opponents of the administration to use the Russian scandal to control the narrative.
Trump unloaded furiously on his senior advisers in an “expletive-ridden” tirade, and according to sources within the White House that spoke with CNN, “nobody had [ever] seen [Trump] that upset.”
As he stormed out of his office, Trump reportedly told Bannon and Priebus that they were not flying with him on Air Force One to Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
Bannon was later seen flying out to Florida on Saturday, and later on Sunday, a few days after the row, he was spotted boarding Air Force One via a separate entrance to the president for the return trip to Washington D.C.
But CNN noted that it was not unusual for Trump to board the plane through a separate entrance.
Trump issued his controversial “wire-tapping” tweets hours after the stormy meeting with his senior staff. In the series of tweets early on Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after the meeting in Washington, D.C., Trump accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of wire-tapping the phones in his Trump Tower office in New York.
But Obama’s aides have dismissed the claims, saying that a president could not order spying on a citizen without obtaining permission from a judge. And if a judge approved, it would mean that the intelligence community had damming evidence suggesting questionable ties between Trump, his campaign, and Russia.
[Featured Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]