Attorney General Jeff Sessions is speaking out, after a week of shocking criticism from President Donald Trump.
In an exclusive interview Thursday night with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Sessions vowed he would not resign and would not back down from his decision to recuse himself of any involvement in the Justice Department’s investigations.
“I’m confident I made the right decision, a decision that’s consistent for the rule of law,” Sessions said. “An attorney general who doesn’t follow the law isn’t very effective in leading the Department of Justice.”
Trump stunned the media — and conservatives — this week by using a recorded interview with the liberal New York Times to declare he would not have nominated Sessions as Attorney General had he known Sessions would recuse himself of any involvement in the Justice Department’s investigations into whether key Trump campaign officials had improper contacts or business relations with the Russian government.
Trump continued the assaults throughout the week on Twitter, blaming Sessions for the lack of any investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illicit email server or contacts with Russian governments. It was Trump who, on Nov. 22, 2016, declared there would be no investigation into Clinton, saying “we don’t care about that anymore.
“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump told the Times, a paper he has called “failed” and “biased,” in a recorded interview published July 19.
“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. 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 can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you,'” said Trump.
Sessions recused himself because he had worked with, and had a professional relationship with, the persons being investigated. Trump is not accused of any wrongdoing, and no major crimes are alleged.
Trump continued to slam Sessions this week, writing on Twitter July 24, “So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?”
“Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives,” Trump then tweeted Wednesday. Sessions was in the White House at the time, but Trump did not bring up with issue with him directly.
Those attacks have brought strong criticism from conservatives, noting that Sessions was one of Trump’s earliest and most loyal supporters, and his service to the Trump administration has been unquestioned and unabashedly conservative.