Trump: Sessions is ‘beleaguered’

Gabby Kaufman
Reporter

President Trump described Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “beleaguered” Monday, days after suggesting he regretted appointing Sessions to the post because the AG had recused himself from the Russia probe, a move Trump said was “unfair” — to him.

“So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?” Trump tweeted Monday.


The president followed up with a second tweet bashing Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own Russia investigation: “Sleazy Adam Schiff, the totally biased Congressman looking into ‘Russia,’ spends all of his time on television pushing the Dem loss excuse!”


Schiff fired back, “With respect Mr. President, the problem is how often you watch TV, and that your comments and actions are beneath the dignity of the office.”


In a New York Times interview Wednesday, Trump said he would not have chosen Sessions to lead the Department of Justice had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia probe, a stunning rebuke to the first sitting senator to endorse his candidacy.

“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.

Asked whether Sessions had warned him about the recusal, Trump said no: “Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. 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 can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president.”

Sessions largely brushed off those comments and said he would stay on as attorney general “as long as that is appropriate.”

In March, Sessions recused himself from any investigation related to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election after it was revealed he had met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice during the campaign and did not disclose the meetings in his Senate confirmation hearing.

Trump’s branding of his attorney general as “beleaguered” is likely a response to a Friday Washington Post report that U.S. intelligence intercepted communications between Kislyak and his superiors in which the ambassador said he and Sessions discussed campaign matters, something Sessions has denied.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Axios reported Monday that Trump is mulling former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a replacement for Sessions as attorney general.

With multiple congressional and Justice Department investigations swirling, Trump has repeatedly lashed out and cited lack of scrutiny into his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, as proof he is being treated unfairly, despite the fact that he won the presidency over Clinton more than eight months ago.

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