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Trump Fires More Barbs at Attorney General Sessions

  • Ken Bredemeier

FILE - Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks in Bethesda, Maryland, June 21, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump fired new barbs Wednesday at Jeff Sessions, his embattled attorney general, in another salvo against the country's top law-enforcement official.

In a pair of Twitter comments, Trump questioned why Sessions has not replaced Andrew McCabe, the current acting chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Trump described McCabe as a friend of James Comey, the FBI chief Trump fired in May while he was leading the agency's investigation of Russian meddling in last year's presidential election.

Trump said McCabe headed the investigation last year that cleared Clinton of wrongdoing in her use of a private email server while she served as U.S. secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. Trump said McCabe "got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife's political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!"

The campaign financing Trump referred to was money that a Clinton ally, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, steered to Jill McCabe in her unsuccessful campaign for a Virginia state senate seat.

U.S. media reports said White House aides have urged Trump to end his almost daily broadsides against Sessions. The former U.S. senator from Alabama was the first prominent U.S. political figure to endorse Trump last year during the early stages of his long-shot, but ultimately successful, run for the White House.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 11, 2017, while testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 11, 2017, while testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

But Trump for days has lobbed attacks at Sessions, a highly unusual public spat in Washington between a president and a member of his Cabinet. Associates of Sessions have told the White House he has no intention of quitting his post at the U.S. Justice Department, and so far Trump has not fired him.

Sessions was at the White House on Wednesday for meetings, but did not talk with Trump. He reputedly has not been in direct contact with the president began criticizing him publicly - in speeches as well as on Twitter.

Watch: Trump Continues to Speak of Displeasure With Attorney General Sessions

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said even though Trump is "disappointed" in Sessions, the president wants him to continue to run the Department of Justice and focus on controlling illegal immigration and investigating leaks of classified government material to journalists.

Trump has told aides for months that he was angry when Sessions removed himself from oversight of the Justice Department's investigation of Russia's election meddling last year during the Republican candidate's ultimately successful campaign to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Sessions said Justice Department rules required him to step aside from the probe because of ethical conflicts created by his own involvement in the Trump campaign and contacts with Russia's ambassador to Washington.

FILE - Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, left, accompanied by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, center, and FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe, right, speaks at a news conference in Washington, July 20, 2017.
FILE - Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, left, accompanied by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, center, and FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe, right, speaks at a news conference in Washington, July 20, 2017.

Trump said he would not chosen Sessions in January to be attorney general, the top law-enforcement official in the United States, if he had known that Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation more than a month later, following the president's dismissal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey.

When Sessions withdrew from his role as supervisor of the Russia probe, his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, appointed a special counsel, former FBI chief Robert Mueller, to lead the criminal investigation.

Over the ensuing four months, investigations of Russian meddling in U.S. politics, by Mueller and numerous congressional panels, have consumed much of the attention of the Trump administration, frustrating the New York real estate mogul turned Republican politician.

Asked Tuesday at a White House news conference about possibly firing Sessions, Trump said, "I'm very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell."

New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Trump "probably" wants Sessions to resign.

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