If Donald Trump finally follows through on his rage and fires Jeff Sessions, the image with this story will be printed in history books.

Tonight at 7:35pm, the Attorney General strode into a high-end Washington restaurant to dine with his deputy Rod Rosenstein and the Solicitor General Noel Francisco.

Photo: Axios

The symbolism was unmistakable: the three top ranking officials in the Justice Department appearing together in a show of solidarity on the same day Trump is publicly and privately raging about Sessions.

When Trump sees this photo he'll have to absorb a concept that some of his aides have been trying to impress upon him for nearly a year, since he first began telling them he wanted to get rid of Sessions.

Photo: Axios

The concept: Fire Sessions, then what next? Are you going to fire Rosenstein too? And then what after that? 

Sources close to the situation say today feels different than Trump's usual rages. Sessions' allies are deeply concerned and Trump is totally fed up with his AG.

Trump has been taunting and publicly humiliating Sessions for months now, but his tweet this morning was as rough as any he's sent:

"Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!"

A source close to Sessions, who has spoken with him, says that this meeting was "in no way planned as pushback or an act of solidarity against the president." The source said Solicitor General Noel Francisco requested the meeting some time ago to talk about carrying out various aspects of the department's and administration's agenda.

Editor's Note: Get more stories like this by signing up for our weekly political lookahead newsletter, Axios Sneak Peek. 

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 19,734,428— Total deaths: 728,612 — Total recoveries — 12,001,537Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,036,387 — Total deaths: 162,851 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says states don't have the funds to comply with Trump's executive order on unemployment — Mnuchin says Trump executive orders were cleared by Justice Department.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths by end of 2020 — Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  5. Schools: Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo showing packed hallway went viral — How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on.
2 hours ago - World

Protests erupt in Belarus after "Europe's last dictator" claims election victory

A man lies on the ground in front of riot police in Minsk. Photo: Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images

Demonstrations broke out across Belarus on Sunday after a government exit poll predicted that President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had swept to overwhelming victory over a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

Why it matters: It's a precarious moment for the former Soviet republic, where decades of repression and a complete disregard for the coronavirus pandemic now threaten to topple "Europe's last dictator."

Scoop: Inside Trump's debate prep

Trump and Christie. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Two weekends ago, President Trump met with a group of his closest aides in the conference room of his Bedminster golf club to discuss a subject that has been weighing heavily on his mind: the three scheduled debates with Joe Biden.

Behind the scenes: In the room with Trump were his son-in-law Jared Kushner, campaign manager Bill Stepien, senior adviser Jason Miller, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who role-played Hillary Clinton in Trump's 2016 debate prep sessions.