Top Republican lawmakers in the US rallied to the defense of Attorney General Jeff Sessions as President Donald Trump appeared to be trying to pressure the official into quitting by repeatedly criticizing him, Reuters reports.
Trump said again that he was frustrated that Sessions had recused himself from the federal investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia and said he would not have appointed him had he known he would do so.
The president, on Twitter and in interviews, stopped short of saying whether he would fire the attorney general but made his displeasure clear about the top official.
Two allies of Sessions told Reuters that Trump’s public attacks went beyond a president simply venting his frustration but were part of a deliberate campaign to encourage the attorney general to step down.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the chamber, said Sessions “is doing a fine job and made the right decision to recuse himself from the Russia matter.”
The Kremlin says it did not interfere in the election, and Trump has denied any collusion.
Asked about Sessions’ future, Trump said at a news conference on Tuesday, “Time will tell. Time will tell.”
The two allies of Sessions said the attorney general has been deeply offended by the public berating from his boss, but his resolve to stay is strong.
It is not clear though whether that will be possible in the long term if Sessions’ relationship with the president irretrievably breaks down, Reuters noted.
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