Embattled US Attorney General Jeff Sessions says ‘hurt’ by President Donald Trump’s public attacks

July 28, 2017 1:10 pm

El Salvador’s President Salvador Sánchez Cerén (left), shakes hands with Attorney General during a visit in San Salvador on Thursday, July 27, 2017. (AFP photo)

Embattled US Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he has been “hurt” by President ’s recent barrage of criticisms, which historians say is unprecedented.
“It is kind of hurtful, but the president of is a strong leader,” Sessions said Thursday in an interview with Fox during a visit to El Salvador.
Trump’s desire was for “all of us to do our jobs. That’s what I intend to do,” said Sessions, a former Republican senator from Alabama who was one of the first senior politicians to endorse Trump and join his election campaign.
Trump has launched a series of attacks against America’s top law enforcement official in recent days, furious at Sessions for recusing himself from a probe into alleged ties between Russia and Trump’s election campaign.
In the interview, Sessions defended his decision to recuse himself. “I talked to experts in the Department of Justice . . . I’m confident I made the right decision, a decision that’s consistent for the rule of law. An attorney general who doesn’t follow the law isn’t very effective in leading the Department of Justice.”
In an interview with The New York Times last week, Trump said he would never have appointed Sessions had he known he would recuse himself from the Russia probe.
The president later tweeted that Sessions had “taken a very weak position” in investigating his former presidential rival Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
A White House spokesman went as far as suggesting that Trump was considering firing the country’s top prosecutor.
The attacks, widely seen as designed to force Sessions to resign, have angered leading senators in Trump’s Republican Party, who are upset over the treatment of a former colleague.
Trump’s recent public denunciations of Sessions are unprecedented, historians and former Justice Department officials say.
Jack Rakove, a professor of history and political science at Stanford University, said Trump’s public criticism of Sessions and other top officials at the Justice Department were highly unusual.
“Like everything else with Trump, it is simply foolish to look for analogues and precedents,” Rakove said. “He is sui generis in the worst sense of the term because, as this incident again confirms, he has neither any grasp of the conventions or for that matter the substance of constitutional governance, nor any respect for the norms that allow constitutional systems to function.”
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