New White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called Jeff Sessions on Saturday to tell him his post as attorney general was safe, despite the fact Kelly and Sessions’ boss, President Donald Trump, has levied repeated public attacks against Sessions in recent weeks.
In one of his first moves in his new position, Kelly told Sessions that the White House remained supportive of the AG’s work, The Associated Press reported Thursday. And although Trump was offended when Sessions recused himself from the ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections, the president did not plan to fire Sessions or hope he would resign.
Trump took to his favorite platform, Twitter, last week to air criticisms of Sessions for not investigating former FBI chief James Comey as well as “Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations,” characterizing Sessions as “beleaguered.”
So many people are asking why isn’t the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2017
The tweets prompted many to speculate how long Trump planned to keep Sessions, one of his closest allies on the 2016 campaign trail, around.
“We will see what happens,” Trump responded when a reporter asked a question about Sessions’ future at a news conference last week. “Time will well. Time will tell.”
But the White House appeared to throw water on that speculation Monday when spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the president “has 100 percent confidence in all members of his Cabinet.”
The AP report of Kelly’s call bolsters those remarks.
Sessions was one of Trump’s earliest and most vocal supporters during the campaign.
As an Alabama senator, Sessions was popular among the conservative base Trump galvanized on the campaign trail with his tough positions on immigration and a promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
Other GOP lawmakers have rushed to Sessions’s defense as Trump has fired his volleys on the AG in recent weeks.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas told CNN that Sessions had done the “right thing” by recusing himself from the Russia investigation, the root of Trump’s frustration with Sessions.
Trump and Sessions still see eye to eye on a number of issues, if Trump’s policy proposals serve as any indication.
Last week, Trump went to Long Island to discuss the steps his administration has taken to combat the MS-13 gang; meanwhile Sessions was in El Salvador for events and talks about the same cartel.
Sessions has said he hopes to remain the administration’s AG for as long as Trump sees fit.