Sessions hits back at Trump: “I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in”

Posted at 4:43 PM, Aug 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 18:43:33-04

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired back Thursday, after President Trump said he “never took control” of the Justice Department.

Mr. Trump, in an interview with “Fox & Friends” that aired Thursday morning, asked “what kind of a man” Sessions could be to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after taking the job. Mr. Trump also complained that Sessions “never took control of the Justice Department.”

Sessions, who rarely responds to the many criticisms the president has made about him in the last year, said he “will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” His statement came moments before he was set to arrive at the White House for a meeting on criminal justice reform.

“I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the president’s agenda—one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty,” Sessions said in a statement.

“While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations,” the nation’s top law enforcement official continued. “I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States. I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law.”

The president did not entirely rule out the possibility of firing Sessions in the Fox & Friends interview.

“I put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department,” the president said. “Jeff Sessions never took control of the Justice Department and it’s a sort of an incredible thing.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he hopes “cooler heads prevail” and Sessions is not forced out.

“I think those of us who’ve worked with Jeff Sessions for the last 15 years or more know him to be an honorable man, somebody who’s dedicated not only to rule of law, but also to the Department of Justice,” Cornyn said Thursday. “He’s a quintessential Boy Scout in that respect. And I know this is a difficult position for him to be in but I think it would be bad for the country, it would be bad for the president, it would be bad for the Department of Justice for him to be forced out under these circumstances. So I hope he stays the course and I hope cooler heads prevail.”