Washington, Aug 24 (IANS) US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has responded to President Donald Trump’s latest attack on him by insisting that the justice department he heads will not bend to political pressure.
The apparent rebuke of Trump came after the President said Sessions was not in control of his department, BBC reported on Friday.
Trump has been vociferous in his criticism of the Department of Justice.
He has been particularly riled by its handling of the inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Sessions, an early supporter of Trump’s campaign, has stepped aside from that inquiry to avoid a potential conflict of interest and handed control to his deputy, Rod Rosenstein.
That decision by Sessions, and the ongoing progress of the inquiry under special counsel Robert Mueller – which is also reportedly now looking into whether Trump has attempted to obstruct justice – have provoked frequent outbursts from the president, both in person and on his Twitter feed.
The president remains insistent that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russian government, and denies he has attempted to obstruct justice.
After the latest exchanges, two key Republican senators signalled that they would support Trump if he were to fire Sessions after the November mid-term elections.
However, other Republicans told Politico they thought this would be a bad move and said they were standing by the attorney general.
“I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in,” the attorney general said in a statement.
“While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.
“I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action.”
He added: “No nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the US.
“I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law.”
Previously, Sessions had been largely non-committal following criticism of him by the president, who appears to believe that Sessions should have shown him greater loyalty instead of recusing himself from the Russia inquiry.