US Attorney General Sessions brushes off Trump criticism
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday brushed off sharp criticism from President Donald Trump over his recusal from the Justice Department's Russia investigation, saying he loved his job and planned to continue serving.
WASHINGTON: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday brushed off sharp criticism from President Donald Trump over his recusal from the Justice Department's Russia investigation, saying he loved his job and planned to continue serving.
"We love this job, we love this department, and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate," Sessions said at a news conference announcing a cyber crime bust.
Sessions was flanked by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who were both also criticised by the president in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday.
Trump took a broad swipe at his administration's top law officers in the interview, saying he would not have appointed Sessions as attorney general if he had known he would recuse himself. The Republican president also noted Rosenstein's roots in Democratic Baltimore and that McCabe's wife took money from a leading Democrat during a political campaign.
The public lashing came after a turbulent first six months in office during which Trump fired national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James Comey, then the top official leading the probe into whether Russian meddled in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties to the Trump campaign.
Sessions recused himself in March from the Russia criminal investigation. He did so after failing to disclose at his confirmation hearing that he had held meetings last year with Russia's ambassador.
"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," the Times quoted Trump as saying.
Sessions was Trump's first supporter in the U.S. Senate and helped shape his political team throughout the campaign and into the transition period after the Nov. 8 election.
He declined on Thursday to acknowledge Trump's criticism.
"I have the honour of serving as attorney general. It's something that goes beyond any thought I would have ever had for myself," Sessions said.
Similarly, Rosenstein, asked about Trump's remarks that there were very few Republicans in Baltimore, declined to comment.