U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded Thursday afternoon to criticism levied at him by his boss, President Donald Trump, who said in an interview earlier in the day that the Alabama Republican “never took control of the Justice Department.” Trump reiterated his criticism Friday morning on Twitter, telling Sessions to “look into all of the corruption on the ‘other side.’”
The exchanges capped an extraordinary 24 hours of tensions between the president and the Attorney General.
“It’s a sort of incredible thing,” Trump said in a pre-recorded interview that aired Thursday morning on Fox News. "You know the only reason I gave him the job? Because I felt loyalty. He was an original supporter.”
>> Trump talks Cohen, Manafort in Fox News interview
Sessions disputed Trump’s claim in a statement later Thursday, saying he “took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in."
“While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations,” he said.
Friday morning Trump went on Twitter and directed his remarks at Sessions: "Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the 'other side' including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, (and) Ohr."
Trump continued in another tweet, "Open up the papers and documents without redaction? Come on Jeff, you can do it, the country is waiting!"
Trump has criticized his attorney general several times since Sessions took office in February 2017. Reports suggest the president has considered dismissing him several times due to his frustration over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself in the Russian election meddling probe.
Trump has frequently railed against the probe, which is headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, claiming it is little more than a “witch hunt” sparked by Democrats frustrated by his win over his rival in the 2016 race for the White House, Hillary Clinton.
Trump has denied allegations that he or his campaign officials worked with Russia to sway the election in his favor. The investigation is ongoing.
Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was found guilty Tuesday on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from the Mueller probe, although the case didn’t touch on questions of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election or its possible ties to Trump campaign officials.
On the same day that jurors came back with a verdict for Manafort, Trump’s former longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to charges including a campaign finance violation related to payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, who claimed they had affairs with Trump years before he was elected to office. Trump has denied the allegations.