Chesterfield Death investigation

White House: Trump has confidence in Sessions, despite biting comments

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WASHINGTON — A White House spokeswoman said Thursday that President Donald Trump has confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, despite the President telling the New York Times 24 hours earlier that he regretted appointing Sessions because he was forced to recuse himself from investigations into the 2016 campaign and Russia.

Sanders, however, confirmed that Trump and Sessions have not talked since his comments about his job status.

Trump was “disappointed” in Sessions’ decision to recuse himself “but clearly he has confidence in him or he would not be the attorney general,” Sanders said, adding that if Trump had wanted him to resign, “he would make that quite clear.”

But Sanders’ comments look to paper over the clear acrimony that exists between Trump and his attorney general, a former Alabama senator who was one of Trump’s most ardent supporters.

In his wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, Trump faulted Sessions for accepting his offer to be attorney general and then recusing himself shortly thereafter due to undisclosed contacts he had with Russian officials during the campaign.

“Sessions,” Trump told The New York Times, “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.”

Sessions recused himself from any investigation related to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, including the ongoing Russian probe, in March after a fraught confirmation hearing before the Senate where Sessions incorrectly said he had not met with any Russians during the campaign.

“Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers,” Trump said on Wednesday. “He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t.”

Sessions told reporters on Thursday that he plans to stay in his job, despite Trump’s comments.

“We love this job. We love this department, and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate,” he said.

Though Sanders sought to downplay the conflict between Trump and his Justice Department, the spokeswoman was unable to say whether Trump regrets nominating Sessions.

“I haven’t asked him specifically about that,” she said. “The President has spoken very clearly on this in the interview yesterday and as he said he was disappointed the attorney general made the decision to recuse himself and certainly that he didn’t tell him that before taking the job.”

Trump’s comments about Sessions have had a “chilling” effect on West Wing staffers, one official told CNN, with Trump’s employees worried that the President could turn on them easily if he was willing to turn on Sessions, the first United States senator to back him in the 2016 election.

“No one was more loyal than Sessions. No one,” a White House official said, speaking confidentially to avoid drawing the President’s ire.

Sanders deflected a question about whether Trump’s comments were meant to undermine his Cabinet secretaries, despite the President demanding loyalty.

“I don’t believe the President is undermining them,” Sanders said. “I think he was being very candid about feelings that he had. As I said, he has confidence in his ability.”

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.