President Trump in an Oval Office interview with Hill.TV launched one of his most ferocious broadsides to date against Jeff Sessions, suggesting the attorney general was essentially AWOL and performing badly on a variety of issues.
“I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” Trump told Hill.TV in an extensive and freewheeling interview Tuesday from the Oval Office.
The president has long excoriated Sessions for his March 2017 decision to recuse himself from the Russia collusion investigation. But on Tuesday he suggested he is frustrated by Sessions’s performance on far more than that.
“I’m not happy at the border, I’m not happy with numerous things, not just this,” he said.
Trump suggested he had a personal blind spot when it came to nominating Sessions as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
“I’m so sad over Jeff Sessions because he came to me. He was the first senator that endorsed me. And he wanted to be attorney general, and I didn’t see it,” he said.
“And then he went through the nominating process and he did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused, and people that worked with him for, you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him, but he was giving very confusing answers. Answers that should have been easily answered. And that was a rough time for him.”
“He gets in and probably because of the experience that he had going through the nominating when somebody asked him the first question about Hillary Clinton or something he said ‘I recuse myself, I recuse myself,’” Trump said.
“And now it turned out he didn’t have to recuse himself. Actually, the FBI reported shortly thereafter any reason for him to recuse himself. And it’s very sad what happened.”
Trump demurred on whether he might one day fire the attorney general.
“We’ll see what happens. A lot of people have asked me to do that. And I guess I study history, and I say I just want to leave things alone, but it was very unfair what he did,” he said, referring to the recusal decision.
“And my worst enemies, I mean, people that, you know, are on the other side of me in a lot of ways, including politically, have said that was a very unfair thing he did.”
He concluded: “We’ll see how it goes with Jeff. I’m very disappointed in Jeff. Very disappointed.”
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