- President Donald Trump delivered his most searing criticism yet of Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a Tuesday interview.
- Trump, who has repeatedly disparaged Sessions over the course of his presidency, called the attorney general “confused” and ineffective.
- “I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” Trump said.
President Donald Trump delivered his most searing criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to date during a free-wheeling Tuesday interview with Hill.TV.
Trump, who has repeatedly disparaged Sessions over the course of his presidency, described his attorney general as “confused” and ineffective.
“I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” Trump said during the Tuesday Oval Office interview.
The president rehashed his frustration with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself last year from the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. He also expressed anger at the way Sessions has handled substantive issues at DOJ.
“I’m so sad over Jeff Sessions because he came to me. He was the first senator that endorsed me. And he wanted to be attorney general, and I didn’t see it,” he said. “And then he went through the nominating process and he did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused, and people that worked with him for, you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him, but he was giving very confusing answers. Answers that should have been easily answered. And that was a rough time for him.”
Trump added: “I’m not happy at the border, I’m not happy with numerous things, not just this.”
But the president wouldn’t promise to fire Sessions. When asked, he said he was being encouraged to do so by his allies.
“We’ll see what happens. A lot of people have asked me to do that. And I guess I study history, and I say I just want to leave things alone, but it was very unfair what he did,” he said, referring to Sessions’ decision to recuse himself.
Trump added that his “worst enemies … have said that was a very unfair thing he did.”
Late last month, Trump told Bloomberg News that he wouldn’t fire Sessions before the November midterm elections.
Sessions delivered a rare rebuke of Trump last month, asserting that “the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican who has at times been critical of the president, said last month that Trump’s relationship with Sessions is “dysfunctional” and “beyond repair.”
“I’m not asking him to be fired, but the relationship is not working,” he said on the “Today” show. And a week earlier, he told Fox News that “every president deserves an attorney general they have confidence in” and called the current relationship “unsustainable.”
Graham’s shift is part of a change in Republican lawmakers’ attitudes toward Trump’s treatment of his attorney general. In July 2017, Graham warned that “there will be holy hell to pay” if the president fired Sessions.
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