Trump has another weekend holiday in Mar-a-Lago as Russia scandal grows

Jasmine Andersson

For the fourth weekend running, US President Donald Trump has decided to retreat to Floridian resort Mar-a-Lago after it was rumoured that he had fallen out with two of his top dogs in the wake of the latest Russian revelations.

The site, which Trump has dubbed the "Winter White House", was home to the leader and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn over the weekend (3 March), with no sign of his chief strategist Steve Bannon nor chief of staff Reince Priebus at the complex.

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Trump has allegedly fallen out with the pair after they failed to recuse Sessions from any current or future investigations into ties between Trump and Russia.

Attorney General Sessions met with the Russian ambassador to the US in two separate meetings, which he had failed to previously disclose to the FBI.

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One source told CNN that "nobody has seen him [Trump] that upset" after he ranted that the Sessions scandal had detracted from his hard work.

As Attorney General, Sessions is the highest-ranking member of the US federal law enforcement system. However, he recused himself from overseeing investigations into whether Trump's election campaign staff had contact with Russian representatives. But Session allegedly did not inform Trump of his decision before announcing it to the public.

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Bannon and Priebus were then advised to not join the president on the weekend retreat.

White House officials reported that Priebus was engaged in a family event, but Bannon later arrived at the resort on 4 March.

The president later tweeted that the Russian ambassador had met Barack Obama a total of 22 times.

Trump has also come under fire for discussing confidential White House business at the complex, in the midst of the public.

The US leader is said to have discussed the US response to a North Korean missile test in a public dining room in the club, with the president and his aides airing sensitive documents in the eye of other guests in the room.

Trump purchased the Mar-a-Lago property, which was designed as a winter retreat for presidents and foreign dignitaries, in 1985 for $5m (approx $11.9m or £9.68m in today's value). The resort is now estimated to be worth $200m-$300m, according to Politico.

Although the president previously criticised his predecessor Obama for a heavy travel bill, a Washington Post report estimates that Trump had spent $10m (£8.13m) on travel expenses since mid-February, whilst Obama spent $87m in his eight years in office.


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