The Latest: Despite criticism, Sessions says he's staying on
Jul. 21, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (all times local):
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he loves his job and that he plans to stay on as head of the Justice Department.
The White House says President Donald Trump has confidence in Sessions, a statement that follows a New York Times interview in which Trump criticized his attorney general.
Trump told the newspaper that he never would have tapped the former Alabama senator for the job had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the probe into Russian meddling in last year's election. Sessions had stepped aside earlier this year, turning oversight for the Russia probe to his deputy.
The attorney general's crime-fighting agenda is being overshadowed by his fractured relationship with Trump and the continuing Russia investigation.
The White House is reinforcing President Donald Trump's statements that special counsel Robert Mueller should keep his investigation focused on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump told The New York Times Wednesday that Mueller would cross a red line if he expanded his investigation to look at Trump's family finances.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump "is making clear that the special counsel should not move outside the scope of the investigation."
She says the probe should remain focused on Russian meddling in the election "and nothing beyond that."
Sanders repeated Trump has no intention to fire Mueller "at this time."
The White House says President Donald Trump "has confidence" in Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday the president was "disappointed" with Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after he was chosen for the job.
But she says of Trump, "Clearly, he has confidence in him or he would not be the attorney general."
The president had said in an interview with The New York Times that he never would have picked Sessions if he'd known a recusal was coming. The president calls it "extremely unfair" to him.
Sessions said Thursday he will remain in office for "as long as that is appropriate."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will remain in office, a day after President Donald Trump rebuked him for recusing himself from the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.
Sessions said Thursday he will stay in office "as long as that is appropriate.'
A former senator from Alabama, Sessions was one of Trump's earliest supporters and became attorney general in February. A month later, he stepped aside from the Justice Department-led inquiry after revelations that he failed to disclose meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
Trump has privately fumed about the recusal, which led to the appointment of a special counsel to lead the investigation.
Trump told The New York Times Wednesday he never would have picked Sessions had he known a recusal was coming. The president calls it "extremely unfair" to him.
Sen. Rand Paul is agreeing with President Donald Trump that Attorney General Jeff Sessions shouldn't have recused himself from the federal probe into whether Trump's campaign got Russian help in last year's election.
Paul is a Kentucky Republican known for his maverick ways, though senators seldom openly criticize current or even former colleagues. Sessions was a GOP senator from Alabama until becoming attorney general this year.
Paul tweeted Thursday: "I agree with @realDonaldTrump, his Attorney General should not have recused himself over reported incidental contacts with Russian officials."
Trump told The New York Times he wouldn't have picked Sessions for the job had he known he'd stand down from the investigation.
After Sessions stepped aside, Robert Mueller became special counsel atop an investigation into Russian interference in last year's campaign.
Jeff Sessions was the first Republican U.S. senator to endorse Donald Trump for president and Trump rewarded him with the post of attorney general.
But now Trump is displeased with Sessions, telling The New York Times he wouldn't have installed him in the country's top law enforcement job if he'd known Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
Sessions did so after it was revealed he failed to disclose meetings with Moscow's ambassador to the United States.
The White House notably made no effort to walk back Trump's comments or display confidence in the attorney general. Instead, two Trump advisers told The Associated Press that the president's public comments largely reflected what they have heard him say about Sessions privately.