Sessions hits Trump back: Won't be 'improperly influenced'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump, newly incensed by campaign allegations, plunged back into his criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claiming in an interview that Sessions "never took control of the Justice Department" after Trump put him there. Sessions quickly hit back, declaring that he and his department "will not be improperly influenced by political considerations."
Trump was interviewed on "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday, the day after his former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts – and implicated the president – and former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of financial crimes unrelated to the 2016 presidential campaign. The interview aired today.
Trump has lashed out repeatedly in the past at Sessions, the Alabama Republican who was the first senator to endorse the celebrity businessman but then recused himself shortly after taking office from the special counsel investigation that led to the criminal cases and is still underway into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
"You know the only reason I gave him the job? Because I felt loyalty, he was an original supporter," Trump said, criticizing Sessions because he, according to the president, "never took control of the Justice Department."
Sessions slapped back in a statement this afternoon, saying he "took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President's agenda."
He declared that while he's attorney general "the actions" of the DOJ "will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action."
Trump in the interview also said in regard to his former lawyer Cohen that he thought it would be better if "flipping," in which someone's confidant helps prosecutors in return for a lighter sentence, "were illegal because people "just make up lies."