Attorney General Jeff Sessions returned fire on Thursday after President Donald Trump accused him of failing to take control of the Justice Department.
In the aftermath of a guilty verdict earlier his week for former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and a guilty plea by former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, Trump voiced his frustration with Sessions in an interview on “Fox & Friends.”
Sessions countered in a written statement: “I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda — one that protects the safety and security rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty.”
“While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations,” Sessions continued. “I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I have taken action. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.”
During his “Fox & Friends” interview, Trump argued that “the Dems are very strong in the Justice Department” and are using it as a vehicle to seek to undermine his presidency.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) August 23, 2018
“There’s such corruption. Before I got here, it’s from before I got here. It’s from the Obama administration,” Trump said. “You look at what happened, they surveilled my campaign. It’s very simple.”
Earhardt asked Trump to respond to reports that he plans to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterm elections.
“I wanted to stay uninvolved,” Trump answered. “When everybody sees what’s going on in the Justice Department, I always put ‘justice’ now with quotes, it’s a very, very sad day.”
“Jeff Sessions recused himself (from the Russia investigation), which he should not have done or he should have told me,” the president said. “Even my enemies say that Jeff Sessions should have told you he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn’t have put him in.”
“He took the job and then he said ‘I’m going to recuse myself. I said ‘What kind of a man is this?’” Trump added.
In an interview with The New York Times last December, Trump contended that former Attorney General Eric Holder, who served as a co-chair on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, “totally protected” his chief executive after taking office.
“I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him,” Trump said. “When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president. And I have great respect for that, I’ll be honest.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Thursday that he believes it is “very likely” Trump will appoint a new attorney general, according to Fox News.
“The president is entitled to an attorney general he has faith in, somebody that’s qualified for the job and I think there will become a time sooner rather than later where it will be time to have a new face, and fresh voice, at the Department of Justice,” Graham said.
“Clearly, Attorney General Sessions doesn’t have the confidence of the president and all I can say is that I have a lot of respect for the attorney general, but that’s an important office in the country and after the election, I think there will be some serious discussions about a new attorney general.”
The senator added, though, that “replacing [Sessions], to me, before the election would be a non-starter.”
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