Attorney General

Sessions says he won't be influenced by political considerations after new Trump criticism

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions/Mark Reinstein (

Jeff Sessions defended himself in a formal statement on Thursday after President Donald Trump said in a televised interview that his selection for attorney general “never took control” of the Justice Department.

Sessions said he did indeed have control of the department and he won’t be improperly influenced by political considerations, report the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Trump criticized Sessions in a Fox & Friends interview that aired Thursday. Trump said the DOJ was dominated by Democrats and the department was not prosecuting Hillary Clinton for deleted emails or other Democrats for corruption.

“I put in an attorney general who never took control of the Justice Department,” Trump said. “It’s sort of an incredible thing.”

Trump said he gave Sessions the attorney general’s job because of his loyalty, but wouldn’t have done so if he had known that Sessions would recuse himself in the Russia investigation. Sessions “took the job, and then he said, ‘I’m going to recuse myself.’ ” Trump said. “What kind of man is this?”

Trump didn’t give a direct answer when he was asked whether he would fire Sessions or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “I wanted to stay uninvolved,” Trump said, “but when everybody sees what’s going on in the Justice Department, I always put ‘Justice’ now with quotes, it’s a very, very sad day.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters on Thursday it’s “very likely” that Trump will replace Sessions, Bloomberg News reports. Graham said Sessions should not be fired before the midterm elections, however.

Sessions disputed Trump’s characterization of his job performance in a statement released on Twitter. “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—one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty,” his statement said.

“While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations,” the statement also said.

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