Jeff Sessions says Justice Department 'will not be improperly influenced' amid attacks from Trump

Mr Sessions issues response to president's public criticisms

Emily Shugerman
New York
Friday 24 August 2018 07:21 BST
Trump says he chose Sessions for his loyalty

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said his office "will not be improperly influenced by political considerations," amid a fresh round of attacks by President Donald Trump.

The attorney general spoke out in the wake of a Fox News interview in which the president said Mr Sessions had failed to take control of the Justice Department and had erred in recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, the attorney general said: "I 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."

"While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations," he added. "I demand the highest standards, and when they are not met, I take action."

Mr Trump lashed out at the attorney general in a Fox and Friends interview aired on Thursday morning, calling it "incredible" that Mr Sessions "never took control" of the Justice Department.

He also returned to his familiar complaint about Mr Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the US election. Mr Sessions stepped down from the investigation last year, when it was revealed that he failed to his disclose contacts with the Russian ambassador during his Senate confirmation hearing.

"Even my enemies say that Jeff Sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself, and then you wouldn't have put him in," Mr Trump told Fox's Ainsely Earhardt on Thursday.

"He took the job and then he said I''m going to recuse myself'. I said, 'What kind of a man is this?'" the president added

Senator Lindsey Graham told Bloomberg that morning that it was "very likely" Mr Trump would replace the attorney general soon.

Jeff Sessions says there is 'not enough basis' for a new federal investigation of Hillary Clinton

Mr Sessions reportedly arrived at the White House on Thursday afternoon, shortly after issuing his response, to discuss criminal sentencing reform with the president and adviser Jared Kushner.

Mr Trump and Mr Sessions have sparred repeatedly since taking office, despite sharing similar outlooks on issues like illegal immigration and drug policy. Mr Sessions was one of the president's earliest supporters during the campaign, but has angered Mr Trump by recusing himself from the Russia investigation, and by refusing to prosecute Mr Trump's campaign rival, Hillary Clinton.

“'GOP Lawmakers asking Sessions to Investigate [former FBI Director James] Comey and Hillary Clinton',” Mr Trump tweeted in April, quoting a Fox News report. He added sarcastically: "Good luck with that request!"

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