US AG says he plans to stay on despite Trump criticism

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Washington, July 20 (IANS) The Attorney General of the US said on Thursday he planned to remain at his post despite harsh criticism from President Donald Trump, who slammed the Justice Department head for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

“I have the honour of serving as Attorney General. It’s something that goes beyond any thought that I’ve ever had for myself. We love this job, and we love this department and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate,” Jeff Sessions said at a press conference to discuss a cybercrime operation, Efe news reported.

His remarks came a day after Trump expressed his displeasure with Sessions in an interview with the New York Times.

Trump said that had he known that Sessions would recuse himself from the probe into his campaign’s alleged links with Russia he would not have appointed him as attorney general.

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“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair – and that’s a mild word – to the president,” Trump told the Times.

Amid allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Sessions said in January at a hearing on his nomination to serve as attorney general that he was “not aware” of any communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.

It subsequently came to light, however, than then-Sen. Sessions – a key Trump ally – met with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, on two occasions during last year’s campaign.

That revelation led to the Attorney General’s decision in early March to heed calls from Democratic lawmakers – and even some Republicans – to recuse himself from overseeing the FBI’s Russia’s probe.

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The Russia investigation is currently in the hands of special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who served as FBI director between 2001 and 2013.

Mueller is probing whether the Trump campaign worked with the Kremlin to influence the outcome of the 2016 balloting. Both Trump and the Russian government adamantly deny any collusion during the campaign.



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