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Trump continues to torment Sessions as inner circle testifies in Russia probe

Trump is annoyed with Sessions for recusing himself from the investigations into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.

world Updated: Jul 25, 2017 21:57 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump and his attorney general Jeff Sessions in the Oval Office of the White House on February 9, 2017.
Donald Trump and his attorney general Jeff Sessions in the Oval Office of the White House on February 9, 2017.(AFP)

US President Donald Trump can fire his attorney general Jeff Sessions any time he wants, but he has taken to mocking and tormenting him in tweets almost daily, strongly indicating that he wants to get rid of him.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, a day after mocking him as “our beleaguered AG”.

Trump is annoyed with Sessions for recusing himself from the investigations into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections. He believes Session’s actions led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller — a development with potentially dire implications for him, his family, and their vast businesses.

In a recent interview, he said he would have never hired Sessions if he knew the latter would recuse himself. He is also understood to have discussed with advisers the consequences of firing Sessions.

When asked if Trump wanted the Sessions to resign, newly appointed communications director Anthony Scaramucci told a TV news anchor, “You’re probably right”.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Texas senator Ted Cruz are speculated as possible replacements, but both have denied an interest in the post and, more importantly, have backed Sessions’s decision to recuse himself.

Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions at the US Capitol in Washington on May 15, 2017. (AFP)

Trump’s treatment of Sessions — the first Republican senator to endorse him as a presidential nominee — has caused a considerable amount of disquiet among Republicans. Even supporters are appalled.

Erik Erikson, editor of conservative news-site The Resurgent, has warned of a revolt brewing in the cabinet, and tweeted that he was told by a cabinet member, “If he (Sessions) can get treated that way, what about the rest of us.”

However, no one in the cabinet has openly defended their colleague.

Sessions has not commented on Trump’s hounding of him, saying that he won’t resign and will continue in the job as long as “appropriate”.

Trump is also trying to bat away the multiple probes into the alleged Russia meddling, which are currently focused on his inner circle.

Jared Kushner (C) and his attorney Abe Lowell (R) depart after testifying in a closed-door session of the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 24, 2017. (Reuters)

His son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner appeared before a senate intelligence committee in a closed-door meeting on Monday, stating: “I did not collude with Russians, nor do I know of anyone in the campaign who did.” He was scheduled to appear before a House committee on Tuesday, with Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr to appear before the senate judiciary committee on Wednesday.

Paul Manafort, who briefly headed Trump’s presidential campaign, spoke to the senate intelligence committee on Tuesday, and has been issued a subpoena by the senate judiciary committee to testify before it on Wednesday.