Trump on Sessions’ future: ‘Time will tell’ – Politico

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that “time will tell” whether Jeff Sessions will remain as the nation’s attorney general.

“I’m very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what happens,” Trump said in a Rose Garden news conference alongside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. “Time will tell. Time will tell.”

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Trump has been ramping up his public shame campaign against Sessions, one of his earliest high-profile supporters, even as conservatives and some White House advisers are cautioning Trump against seeking his ouster.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. He referenced a

“That is up to the president,” Conway told Fox about the possibility of Trump firing Sessions, “but Sarah is right. The president has expressed frustration and consternation because the recusal really has allowed this — what he considers to be a witch hunt and a hoax, a complete nothing of a Russia investigation — to carry forward, and look at what’s happened.”

Sessions’ recusal — along with other events — paved the way for special counsel Robert Mueller to be appointed, which has led to a sprawling investigation of the president and his closest allies and family members. Trump’s tweets, however, have glossed over the fact that Sessions has recused himself from any campaign probes, which include Clinton matters.

Even with Trump emphatically calling out Sessions during a New York Times interview last week, the attorney general has said he will stay on “as long as that is appropriate.”

Trump’s onslaught has damaged the mood among career lawyers and other employees at the Justice Department who haven’t seen an attorney general get publicly attacked by the president in recent administrations, according to a Justice Department source.

“DOJ is full of professionals who can shrug their shoulders and keep their focus, but this is first time I’ve seen morale dip like this,” said one DOJ employee.

Trump’s public assault on Sessions is also alarming Democrats, who worry that Trump is trying to clear the path for an attorney general who will do more to protect him.

“Fully transparent: @POTUS wants to force Sessions to resign so he can appoint someone to curb Mueller probe. Only works if Senate lets it,” Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which is also conducting a Russia probe, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

“Why doesn’t he just fire him? If he’s lost confidence in him, he could just say so and he would resign,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) told POLITICO outside the NAACP Convention in Baltimore on Tuesday. “At some point, you ought to get the hint and resign.”

If Sessions quits or is fired, Trump does have some options available to him, including appointing an acting attorney general or making a recess appointment — though it’s not clear how much power that person would have to oust Mueller or otherwise limit the FBI’s Russia investigation.

Scaramucci, in his interview with Hewitt, said that he has advised Trump against having Mueller terminated. “In candid conversations with the president, I have said, ‘Why would you fire him?’” Scaramucci said.

As for Sessions, he has so far shown no public signs of stepping aside. He left a 20-year career in the Senate for the attorney general post, which has allowed him to fulfill some of his long-held goals, including overseeing a widespread crackdown on immigration and other priorities.

Tuesday has been a “business as usual” day of meetings at DOJ headquarters in downtown Washington for Sessions, who “started the day with oatmeal, like always,” a senior DOJ official told POLITICO.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters it’s up to Trump to determine the personnel of his administration but argued that the chamber is focused on the president’s agenda.