L ast Friday, just before 5 p.m., the vehicle carrying Reince Priebus broke away from the presidential motorcade.

The symbolism became clear soon after when President Trump announced, on Twitter of course, that he was reassigning his homeland security secretary, General John Kelly, to replace Priebus as White House chief of staff.

Priebus’’s ouster had been widely forecasted, but the public performance — — played out like a reality show — — still elicited surprise.

With Priebus’’s departure, there is another character in the Trump show whose fate seems uncertain, another ultimate loyalist to the president who has stood beside him from day one and whose job is on life support. That man is Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

When Senator Sessions stood on stage beside the colorful candidate Donald Trump in August 2015, many raised their eyebrows in surprise. Almost no one gave Trump a chance to win the election at that point, his campaign little more than a curiosity. But Sessions was impressed by Trump’’s promises for immigration reform and his call to battle illegal immigration. That’’s why he decided to ascend the stage in Madison, Alabama, wearing a ““Make America Great Again”” baseball cap, becoming the first senator to throw his support behind the man who would ultimately become president.

And as someone who values loyalty, Trump repaid Sessions by appointing him attorney general, the top legal authority in the land.

But Trump’’s mercurial side has become even more pronounced since taking office and even a stalwart like Sessions isn’’t safe from the president’’s broadsides. In a series of tweets last week, the president all but called for Sessions to resign over his handling of the Russia investigation, putting the former senator in an untenable position.

““He only realizes now that he made a terrible mistake by trusting Trump,”” says Steve Rabinowitz, a Democratic insider and president and cofounder of Bluelight Strategies, a political consulting firm. ““He gave up a safe seat in the Senate that he can’’t go back to.””

Sessions, a conservative Republican, announced broad plans as attorney general to reverse many of the Obama-era reforms, especially in the area of immigration. Instead, he has found himself from day one bogged down in the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steer the election in its favor. After it was discovered that Sessions had been in contact with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak before the election — — seemingly at variance with his previous sworn testimony in the Senate — — Sessions recused himself from directing the probe.

But as the Russia investigation has progressed and become more and more of an irritant to the White House, Sessions’’s recusal became more significant. Without a political appointee protecting him, Trump has felt more exposed to the probe and Sessions has fallen out of favor with the White House.

““Trump saw the attorney general as his lawyer, rather than the nation’’s lawyer,”” says Marshall Breger, a law professor at the Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America, and a former liaison to the Jewish community under President Reagan. ““I do not think that the president is particularly sensitive to the rule of law and the fact that Sessions did not have much choice but to recuse himself.””

In recent days, Trump and Sessions have been playing a game of chicken: Trump wants Sessions to resign, but is afraid of firing the 70-year old former senator, a popular Republican who served in the upper chamber for 20 years. The Senate Judiciary Committee has already informed Trump that, if he fires his attorney general, it will not take up the appointment of a replacement this year, leaving the nation without its top law enforcement officer. In addition, firing Sessions would be perceived as yet another attempt by Trump to cover up Russian meddling in the 2016 election, especially after the president dismissed former FBI director James Comey.

Breger adds that while it is Trump’’s prerogative to fire Sessions, it would be a grave error. ““It is completely irrational, unless the president really does have something to hide, because if he fires Sessions, he will get nothing else done. It will be a paralyzed government. He is probably one of the most effective cabinet secretaries implementing the Trump agenda, in terms of immigration reform, deportation, and increasing prosecution of drug offenses.””

Therefore, Trump prefers that Sessions resign, but the Alabaman has already indicated that he has no intention of going anywhere.

In an interview with Fox News, Sessions admitted his relationship with the president ““is kind of painful.””

““But the president of the United States is a strong leader,”” Sessions added. ““He has had a lot of criticisms and he’’s steadfastly determined to get his job done, and he wants all of us to do our jobs and that’’s what I intend to do.”” (Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 671)