By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The public rift between President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions apparently continues to grow. At a Department of Justice press conference on Thursday, July 20, 2017, Attorney General Sessions said, “We love this job, we love this department and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate.”
Sessions remarks at a Department of Justice press conference followed a Wednesday New York Times interview in which the President was sharply critical of his Attorney General’s decision to recuse himself from the Russian collusion scandal.
President Trump told The New York Times in an interview Wednesday, that he would not have hired Sessions if he’d known his Attorney General would recuse himself from the Russia probe. “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’m not going to take you.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “I have the honor of serving as attorney general. It’s something that goes beyond any thought I would have ever had for myself.”
Sessions added that those who work in the Department of Justice “will continue every single day to work hard to serve the national interests and we wholeheartedly join in the priorities that President Trump.” “I’m totally confident that we can continue to run this office in an effective way.”
Recent reporting has revealed that Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., then Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner met with a Russian attorney with ties to a Russian pop star and his politically connected Russian oligarch father in June 2016 to obtain opposition research on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D). There are reports that a member of Russia’s intelligence community sat in on that meeting. Recent reporting claims that Manafort owed $17 million to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, due to a failed cable TV investment the two were partners in, at the time that he went to work for Trump. Manafort’s attorney denies that report and said that the Cyprus bank records for that time are “stale” and do not accurately reflect Manafort’s finances now or at the time of the presidential campaign.
After it was revealed that Sessions met with the Russian Ambassador to the United States twice over the summer (meetings he forgot about during his confirmation hearings), Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, without informing the White House of his decision.
There are multiple investigations currently looking into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race and a special counsel was appointed earlier this year to lead the Russia probe.
Trump denies any wrongdoing and called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt.”
Special advisor to the President Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday.
US Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) is defending Sessions after the criticism from President Trump, saying Trump’s agenda would be “crippled” without him. Rep. King said Wednesday on Twitter, “No one in America can match the excellence of @JeffSessions as Attorney General. Trump agenda would be crippled w\o him.”
Sessions was an extremely popular US Senator from Alabama. Sessions also served Alabama as State Attorney General, Republican Party Chairman, and US Attorney.
(Original reporting by ‘The Hill’s Rebecca Savransky and Robin Eberhardt, the New York Times’ Mike McIntire, and Fox News contributed to this report)