UPDATE — 8/3, 1:06 p.m. EDT: AP and Politico reported Wednesday that new White House chief, Gen. John Kelly, called Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the weekend to assure him he will not be fired despite public threats from President Trump.
U.S. administration officials were also quoted as saying that the president is still unhappy with Sessions over his Russia investigation recusal and the possibility still remains that Trump may eventually fire the former Alabama senator from his Justice Department post.
Despite a very public, week-long tongue lashing from President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will remain at the helm of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sessions future was cast in doubt as rumor circulated the president had been considering his replacement.
In an interview with the New York Times on July 19, President Trump delivered a withering critique of Sessions’ decision to recuse himself over the ongoing probe into alleged Russian interference in the November 2016 presidential election. Sessions excused himself from any role in the inquiry in early March over his official contact with Russian officials when serving in the U.S. Senate.
Trump told the Times he would have never nominated Sessions had he known the former Alabama senator would have removed himself from a role in the investigation.
Following Trump’s comments, Sessions admitted to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson he was “hurt” by the barrage of insults, and “served at the pleasure of the president.”
Despite the public censure, Sessions twice has stated he intends to remain as the nation’s top law-enforcement official. In comments at a Justice Department press conference on July 20, Sessions told reporters he could lead Justice effectively despite the president’s remarks.
On Thursday, while visiting El Salvador, Sessions backed up his comments made a week earlier, telling the Associated Press he was committed to his position as attorney general.
“It hasn’t been my best week for my relationship with the president, but I believe with great confidence that I understand what’s needed in the Department of Justice and what President Trump wants. I share his agenda,” Sessions said.
Despite Sessions’ confidence and some GOP lawmakers’ public support, Sessions received additional backing in an online petition signed by over 100 notable conservatives offering support.
In an open letter posted on the Conservative Action Project’s website describing Sessions as principled and the Russia probe entirely a political ruse, signees wrote:
“The President’s frustration with the distinctly partisan investigation into his family is understandable and appropriate. The opacity of the process, the politically motivated leaks, and the lack of a crime to investigate characterize this effort as little more than a specious attempt to discredit the president and his family members. President Trump is right to be outraged.”
“Though the President’s displeasure with the investigation may be understandable, a move to replace Jeff Sessions as Attorney General would not be.”
A former Alabama state and federal prosecutor, Sessions was one of the earliest supporters of candidate Trump, often appearing with the New York businessman at political rallies, finding common cause with Trump on law enforcement and trade issues.
[AP] [Press TV] [YouTube/Fox News] [Photo courtesy Dennis Brack/Newscom via The Daily Signal]