President Donald Trump continued his now week-long public attacks against his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, on Wednesday, firing off a pair of tweets asking why the Justice Department head has not “replaced” acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
“Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got…big dollars ($US700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives,” Trump wrote in a pair of morning tweets. “Drain the Swamp!”
The remarks were just the latest in the ongoing series of broadsides Trump has delivered to Sessions, the first sitting US senator to endorse his presidential campaign.
Throughout the past week, Trump has expressed displeasure with Sessions’ recusal from all investigations involving the Trump campaign, which allowed for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller in May to oversee an investigation related into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials in the 2016 election. Rosenstein appointed Mueller after Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey in May. Comey was overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Russian election interference.
On Tuesday, the president started his day by blasting Sessions on Twitter for having taken “a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are Emails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” The president also asked “where is the investigation A.G.” in a tweet in which he discussed “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal later that day, Trump said he was “very disappointed in Jeff Sessions,” a statement he would repeat in a Rose Garden press conference alongside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri just hours later. Trump told the Journal that Sessions’ endorsement of his candidacy early on was “not like a great loyal thing.”
He did not, however, say whether he was planning to oust Sessions.
For his part, Sessions, whom Trump called “beleaguered” on Monday, is growing upset with the president, allies told The Daily Beast. But those same sources said the attorney general has no plans to quit his post. In a press conference last week, Sessions said, “the work we’re doing today is the kind of work we intend to continue,” adding that he is “totally confident that” he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “can continue to run this office in an effective way.”
A number of Republican senators have took to defending Sessions since Trump began launching his attacks. On CNN Wednesday, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said Sessions “deserves better than this.”
Of note in Trump’s Wednesday tweet — McCabe was among the handful of individuals Trump interviewed to replace Comey following his firing in May. The controversy Trump mentioned involved McCabe’s wife’s run for Virginia Senate in 2015.
Jill McCabe, a pediatrician, was recruited by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe — a close ally to the Clintons — to run for a Senate seat. As PolitiFact wrote, McAuliffe’s PAC gave McCabe’s campaign $US450,000, while the Democratic Party of Virginia spent more than $US200,000 on her behalf. The Clintons did not directly donate any money to McCabe’s campaign, contrary to Trump’s comment.
Her husband was, at the time, an assistant director in the FBI’s Washington field office. Months after his wife lost her race, McCabe became deputy director of the FBI. And it was then that McCabe had oversight in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state.