Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded to President Trump on Wednesday, after the president took another shot at Sessions’s decisions regarding the Russia probe.
Trump criticized the Attorney General’s decision to have Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, whom Trump called “an Obama guy,” investigate whether FBI agents abused their power to spy on former Trump campaign official Carter Page, who had ties to Russia.
“Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!” the president tweeted early Wednesday morning.
Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
“We have initiated the appropriate process that will ensure complaints against this department will be fully and fairly acted upon if necessary,” Sessions explained in a statement later. “As long as I am the Attorney General, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this Department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution.”
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo earlier this month detailing their accusations against FBI officials, whom they say purposely misled the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) to get a warrant to spy on Carter Page. Democrats countered with their own memo defending the intelligence agency.
Sessions has praised the Inspector General’s “relentless and tough” methods, saying much of what the Justice Department knows about the Russia investigation has come from Horowitz’s work. Horowitz was appointed Inspector General by President Obama in 2012, but worked in the Justice Department under both Bushes and Bill Clinton.
Trump has criticized Horowitz in the past, accusing him of being slow on a report about potential bias in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server offenses.
The president has also repeatedly criticized Sessions since he recused himself from the probe into Russia’s attempted interference into the 2016 election. Sessions’s recusal greatly frustrated Trump who had hoped Sessions would defend him against accusations that his campaign colluded with Russia.