WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (all times local):
10:30 a.m. 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.