Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded on Thursday to President Trump’s recent insinuation that he has been an ineffective leader of the Department of Justice since the beginning of his tenure.
“I put in an attorney general who never took control of the Justice Department. Jeff Sessions, never took control of the Justice Department. It’s sort of an incredible thing,” Trump said during an interview that aired Thursday morning on Fox News.
Trump has repeatedly lamented Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the investigation of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, complaining that it was a dereliction of duty and showed a lack of loyalty.
“It’s a very, very sad day. Jeff Sessions recused himself, which he shouldn’t have done or he should have told me,” Trump said during the interview. “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.”
Sessions issued a rare rebuttal to the president’s charge on Thursday morning, touting the various accomplishments he believes the DOJ has wracked up since he assumed control.
“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,” Sessions said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
“While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” he added.
Sessions recused himself from all matters related to Russian interference in the 2016 election after it was revealed that he secretly met with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak during the campaign. Trump launched a series of public tirades decrying Sessions’s lack of loyalty over a three-day period in June, but has largely refrained from criticizing him publicly since then. Trump has reportedly become more incensed by the decision as the Mueller investigation has intensified, and has resumed his onslaught of public criticism of Sessions.
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