WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Thursday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was safe in his job at least until the November congressional elections, Bloomberg News reported after interviewing the U.S. leader.
“I just would love to have him do a great job,” Bloomberg quoted Trump as saying. It said the president declined to comment when asked whether he would keep Sessions in office beyond November.
Trump has repeatedly attacked Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign. After the recusal, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to lead the probe, which Trump has called a “witch hunt.”
Trump said in the Bloomberg News interview he viewed the Mueller probe as an “illegal investigation.”
The president resumed his attacks on Sessions last week, accusing him of never fully exerting control over the Justice Department. Sessions, in a rare rebuttal, responded that he took control of the department the day he became attorney general and would not allow it to be “improperly influenced by political considerations.”
Trump said in a Twitter post on Saturday that Sessions “doesn’t understand what is happening underneath his command position.” He charged that Mueller‘s probe was “highly conflicted” and that “real corruption goes untouched.”
Some Republican lawmakers have predicted that Trump would replace Sessions, a former U.S. senator, after the Nov. 6 elections.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who is close to Trump and a defender of Sessions, said last week he believed Trump would appoint a new attorney general but should wait until the elections, in which Republicans are seeking to maintain control of both the House of Representatives and Senate.
(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Peter Cooney)