President Donald Trump took aim at Attorney General Jeff Sessions Tuesday in an early morning tweet amid reports that the president has consulted his advisers about firing him.
And his newly appointed communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, acknowledged later Tuesday that Trump wants Sessions out.
Asked if Trump wants to fire Sessions, Scaramucci said, “I do know the president very well, and if there’s this level of tension in the relationship, that that’s public, then you’re probably right,” Scaramucci said on the “Hugh Hewitt Show.”
But, he continued, “I don’t want to speak for the president on that because [Sessions is] a cabinet official, and I sort of think that has to be between the president of the United States and the cabinet official.”
Trump tweeted that Sessions had taken a “VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes” and on leaks from the intelligence community.
It was the second day in a row that Trump has criticized his attorney general over his 2016 presidential opponent.
Trump then proceeded to attack acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe due to the fact that when his wife Jill ran for state Senate, she received $500,000 from a political action committee tied to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of Clinton, and an additional $207,778 from the Virginia Democratic Party.
Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign - "quietly working to boost Clinton." So where is the investigation A.G. @seanhannity— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
Trump said that meant his wife received money from the Clintons.
Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
Trump’s tweets come amid an Associated Press report that he had discussed firing Sessions. Three people who have recently spoken to Trump said that Trump has speculated aloud about the consequences of firing Sessions, according to the AP.
But those people cautioned that Trump often talks about making staff changes without following through. The same could likely be the case with Sessions, who was the first senator to back Trump during the primaries.
Amid reports that the White House was lining up possible successors, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, sought to shoot down reports that he was among them.
“Jeff Sessions is a friend and a strong conservative. I was proud to vote to confirm Jeff and to vigorously defend his confirmation, and I’m deeply gratified that we have a principled conservative like Jeff Sessions serving as Attorney General,” Cruz said in a statement. “The stories being reported in the media overnight are false. My focus is and will remain on fighting every day to defend 28 million Texans in the U.S. Senate.”
Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, who served with Sessions as senior Senator from Alabama, defended him as well.
During the past twenty years that I have served with Jeff Sessions in the Senate, I have had the opportunity to know him well. 1/3— Richard Shelby (@SenShelby) July 25, 2017
Jeff Sessions is a man of integrity, loyalty, and extraordinary character. 2/3— Richard Shelby (@SenShelby) July 25, 2017
I join the people of Alabama in giving Jeff Sessions my deep respect and unwavering support. 3/3— Richard Shelby (@SenShelby) July 25, 2017
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who has criticized Trump in the past, tweeted that the president should just "try a meeting."
Mr. President, maybe just try a meeting? This is beneath the office - of any held office - from city councilman to POTUS. https://t.co/5u7E2n0m6G— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) July 25, 2017
In an interview with the New York Times last week, Trump criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Trump campaign and White House ties to Russia shortly after becoming attorney general.
On Monday, Trump tweeted asking why “our beleaguered Attorney General” was not looking into Clinton's crimes.
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
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina defended Sessions in a statement.
"He’s a rock-solid conservative, but above else he believes in the rule of law. Jeff understands that we are a nation of laws, not men," Graham said. "On occasion, I’ve vigorously disagreed with Jeff but I’ve never once doubted his integrity or sense of fair play."
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Trump has the right to determine his personnel.
"He determines who is hired and fired in the executive branch," Ryan said but when asked about Trump's tweets about investigating Clinton said "what we’re focused on here is doing our jobs."
But Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu took a bit of glee in Sessions' plight on Twitter, comparing it to the fear immigrants face.
Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 25, 2017