Trump taunts Jeff Sessions after the attorney general pushes back against the president's criticism and insults

Key Points
  • Trump once again attacks Sessions, taunting him in a series of early-morning tweets.
  • Sessions, who has normally not responded to Trump's criticisms, fired back against Trump a day earlier, vowing not to let the Justice Department become "improperly influenced by political considerations."
President Donald Trump (L) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Getty Images

President Donald Trump resumed his attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday, a day after they held their fire during a White House meeting amidst their Twitter battle over the Justice Department's independence.

Trump unloaded on his attorney general in a series of early-morning tweets. The attorney general, who has normally turned the other cheek to Trump's criticisms, fired back against Trump on Thursday, vowing not to let the Justice Department become "improperly influenced by political considerations."

Trump directly addressed that portion of Sessions' statement Friday morning, saying it was "GREAT" and "what everyone wants." The president's prescription, however, appeared to call on the beleaguered DOJ chief to weigh political affiliations more heavily.

"Look into all of the corruption on the 'other side,'" Trump goaded Sessions in the tweets, providing a list of alleged wrongdoings by opponents stretching back before the 2016 presidential election.

"Come on Jeff, you can do it, the country is waiting!" Trump added.

TRUMP TWEET "Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations." 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, Ohr......

TRUMP TWEET ....FISA abuse, Christopher Steele & his phony and corrupt Dossier, the Clinton Foundation, illegal surveillance of Trump Campaign, Russian collusion by Dems - and so much more. Open up the papers & documents without redaction? Come on Jeff, you can do it, the country is waiting!

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the president's tweets.

Sessions' fiery response on Thursday arrived amid a week filled with Trump-related legal bombshells and signaled that the fraught relationship between the president and the head of the Justice Department may have entered a new, even more acrimonious phase.

In a Fox News interview this week, Trump again griped about Sessions' recusal from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. Sessions "took the job and then he said, 'I'm going to recuse myself,'" Trump said.

"I said, 'What kind of a man is this?'"

Jeff Sessions to Trump: DOJ won't be influenced by politics

Trump also said Sessions "never took control of the Justice Department" — an argument Sessions addressed directly in his statement on Thursday.

"I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President's agenda," Sessions said.

In a third tweet toward Sessions on Friday morning, Trump referenced the sentencing of former National Security Agency contract Reality Winner, who received 63 months in prison for leaking a top secret report on Russian meddling to a news outlet.

The 26-year-old's sentence was the longest ever handed down for such a leak of classified information. But Trump said it was "'small potatoes' compared to what Hillary Clinton did! So unfair Jeff, Double Standard," the president tweeted.

TRUMP TWEET Ex-NSA contractor to spend 63 months in jail over "classified" information. Gee, this is "small potatoes" compared to what Hillary Clinton did! So unfair Jeff, Double Standard.

Friday's tweets came a day after he met with Sessions and son-in-law Jared Kushner to discuss a bill aimed at reforming criminal sentencing. According to media reports, the conflict between the president and the attorney general didn't even come up in the meeting, which actually turned out to be a victory for Sessions as Trump abandoned the bill for the time being.

Trump's response to Sessions on Friday returned to familiar territory, as the president has long decried what he claims is bias within the DOJ and the attorney general's inaction in stanching the influence of alleged misconduct.

Trump has vented frustration at Sessions ever since the former Alabama senator recused himself in March 2017 from any investigation into Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Sessions had failed to disclose his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, saying he "did not have communications with the Russians" at his confirmation hearing.

The move handed the reins of the federal Russia probes over to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Trump reportedly considered firing Rosenstein in order to limit the authority of Mueller, who is investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump has recently called on Sessions to end Mueller's probe "right now."

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