(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Jeff Sessions starts to defend himself against another Trump attack

The president keeps going after his attorney general, who tries to reply


Charlie May
February 28, 2018 7:45PM (UTC)

President Donald Trump returned to berating his Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday — a long line of bashing the man responsible for leading his Department of Justice, but not the Russia investigation.

The president was angered by his attorney general's statement Tuesday that the Justice Department's inspector general would look into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses by the FBI. In a misleading tweet, Wednesday he called DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz an "Obama guy," while blasting Sessions.

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But Horowitz has long served the department under both Republican and Democratic administrations, according to CNN. He was confirmed for his current job in 2012, under President Barack Obama.

Trump was correct in the fact that Horowitz does not have prosecutorial powers, however, he can provide criminal referrals to the DOJ as a result of his investigative findings, and has done so in the past, CNN noted.

Sessions responded on Wednesday afternoon, saying he would continue to carry out his duties with "integrity and honor." It's certainly not the first time Sessions has had to publicly speak out about Trump's harsh words towards him, and it might not be the last time, either.

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"We have initiated the appropriate process that will ensure complaints against this department will be fully and fairly acted upon if necessary," Sessions said in a statement. "As long as I am the attorney general, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution."

Trump's conservative religious friend Jerry Falwell Jr. joined in on the Sessions beat down and threw some extra gasoline into the tumultuous relationship.

Perhaps Falwell is eyeing Sessions' job, and wants to grab some attention from a president who has made it clear that loyalty rules above all else.

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Sessions and Trump have had a major falling out over the past year as a result of the ongoing Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. It all began when Sessions recused himself from the investigation, and Trump has publicly let it be known that he thinks of his attorney general as weak.

But even from the firing of former FBI director James Comey, the president has shown that in his chastising of Sessions he still has struggled to come to terms with or is deliberately undermining the separation between the executive and judiciary branches.

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Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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