Sessions Won’t Quit Despite Trump’s Rebukes

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions said today he would not resign despite being rebuked by President Trump yesterday, the Associated Press reports. “We love this job, we love this [Justice] department and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate,” Sessions said. Trump said he never would have appointed Sessions had he known Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president,” the New York Times reports. In what the newspaper called “a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters,” Trump complained that Sessions’s decision led to the the naming of a special counsel, which should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump told the Times in an interview. The president’s statements were not a calculated attempt to force Sessions out, White House aides told AP.

The president accused James Comey, the FBI director he fired in May, of trying to leverage a dossier of compromising material to keep his job. Trump criticized both acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who recommended the firing. He also took on Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election. Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump’s candidacy and was rewarded with a key cabinet slot, but has been more distant from the president lately. “Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” Trump said. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.” Trump faulted Sessions for telling senators he had not had “communications with the Russians” although he had met at least twice with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers,” Trump said.

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