Attorney general has no plans to resign despite Trump rebuke
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he has no immediate plans to resign a day after President Donald Trump excoriated the nation's top prosecutor for recusing himself from the probe of suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.
"We love this job, we love this department and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate," he said.
A former senator from Alabama, Mr Sessions was one of President Trump's earliest and ardent supporters and became attorney general in February.
A month later, he took himself out of a Justice Department-led inquiry into the election following revelations he'd failed to disclose meetings with the Russian ambassador to the US.
President Trump on Wednesday told The New York Times he never would have tapped Mr Sessions for the job had he known a recusal was coming.
"Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president," Mr Trump told the newspaper.
"How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, 'Thanks, Jeff, but I'm not going to take you.' It's extremely unfair - and that's a mild word - to the president."
President Trump's blistering rebuke underscored his continuing fury with Mr Sessions more than four months after the recusal and came during an interview in which he also lashed out at Robert Mueller, the special counsel now leading the federal probe; James Comey, the FBI director he fired; Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI director who replaced Mr Comey; and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed the special counsel.
President Trump's denouncement reflected a long-simmering frustration with one of his staunchest allies, but was not a calculated attempt to force Mr Sessions from the Cabinet, according to two Trump advisers.
For weeks, the president has seethed about Mr Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the federal investigation into whether Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia during last year's election.
The White House notably made no effort to retract President Trump's comments in the interview or display confidence in the attorney general.
Instead, the two Trump advisers acknowledged that the president's public comments largely reflected what they have heard him say about Mr Sessions privately.
Mr Sessions, one of President Trump's earliest supporters, stepped away from the Russia probe following revelations that he had failed to disclose meetings with the Kremlin's ambassador to the US.
His decision was made without consulting with the president and essentially paved the way for the appointment of Mr Mueller as special counsel.
Mr Mueller's investigation, along with separate congressional probes, has overshadowed much of President Trump's agenda and ensnared several of his associates, including son Donald Trump Jr and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.