US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has hit back at increasing pressure from the president after convictions of two former top Donald Trump aides.
Sessions, who heads the powerful Justice Department, said on Thursday he will not allow political pressure to influence the work being done at the department.
He said as long as he’s the attorney general, he will not allow the department to be pressured by political considerations.
“I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in,” he said. “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”
The comments come after increased attacks on the attorney general by President Trump. The attacks come as two of Trump’s former associates were convicted of high-profile crimes.
Trump has repeatedly criticized Sessions for not taking full control of the Justice Department and at times called him weak.
In an interview aired on Thursday, Trump blamed him for the corruption at the Justice Department.
“I put in an attorney general who never took control of the Justice Department. Jeff Sessions, never took control of the Justice Department. It’s sort of an incredible thing,” Trump said.
Last year, Sessions recused himself from an investigation into the alleged meddling of Russia in the 2016 US presidential election. Sessions’s deputy, Rod Rosenstein, then took over the investigation and appointed special counsel Robert Mueller.
The US president is known to maintain a grudge against the attorney general for recusing himself in the Russia probe.
“It’s a very, very sad day. Jeff Sessions recused himself, which he shouldn’t have done or he should have told me,” he said. “Even my enemies say that Jeff Sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn’t have put him in.”
Trump tweeted back in June, “The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself…I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined…and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!”
Earlier this month, Trump accused his top judicial official of being “scared stiff” and “missing in action” in defending him amid Muller’s persisting probe of likely ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.