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Sessions hits back at Trump: DOJ won't be 'improperly influenced'

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired back at President Donald Trump Thursday afternoon, after Trump said he ...

Posted: Aug 24, 2018 12:55 AM
Updated: Aug 24, 2018 12:55 AM

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired back at President Donald Trump Thursday afternoon, after Trump said he "never took control" of the Justice Department.

"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. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States," Sessions said in a statement.

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"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 -- one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty."

"I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law," he added.

Trump has frequently criticized Sessions since taking office and often expresses frustration over the attorney general's decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

The assertion from the attorney general that he has in fact taken control of the Justice Department comes after the President lashed out at Sessions in an interview that aired on Fox News Thursday morning.

After months of attacks, Sessions spoke up on Thursday in part because the President said on Fox News that he "never took control of the Justice Department" -- a "macro" criticism that struck a different tone than Trump's more granular gripes on Twitter about different individual cases like former FBI employees Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, according to a source familiar with the attorney general's thinking.

"I put in an attorney general who never took control of the Justice Department. Jeff Sessions, never took control of the Justice Department. It's sort of an incredible thing," Trump said during the interview.

Trump said during the interview that even his "enemies" have told him that Sessions should have informed him he was planning to recuse himself so that he could have picked a different attorney general.

"What kind of a man is this?," Trump said, recalling his reaction when he found out that Sessions decided to recuse.

Earlier this month, Trump escalated his criticism of the nation's top law enforcement officer when he said in a tweet that Sessions is "scared stiff and Missing in Action."

Trump's criticism of the Justice Department has gone further than just targeting Sessions. "Everybody sees what's going on in the Justice Department, I always put justice now with quotes," Trump said during the Fox News interview.

Trump did not directly answer whether he plans to fire Sessions or deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation, when asked during the Fox News interview.

The last time the attorney general fired back at the President was months ago.

Sessions pushed back after Trump chastised him in late February over an investigation into alleged surveillance abuses, calling his approach "disgraceful" in a tweet.

In response, Sessions defended his work and the department in a statement, saying, "As long as I am the attorney general, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution."

Sessions met with the President at the White House Thursday, along with aides Jared Kushner and Mercedes Schlapp, to discuss prison reform. A White House official said Sessions was not fired, and there was no resignation.

Another source familiar with the meeting said nothing negative regarding Sessions' future as attorney general came up during the gathering. This source said the meeting was a "win" for Sessions as Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley's prison reform bill was "shelved" by the White House. The President is not on board with the bill, the source said.

A separate source who was in the room for the meeting says Trump and Sessions had a cordial meeting discussing prison reform. Neither of them raised their public exchange of criticism of one another.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1118335

Reported Deaths: 17712
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1455892240
Lake724831254
Allen67063882
Hamilton51060487
St. Joseph49820649
Elkhart40268546
Vanderburgh34714497
Tippecanoe30808276
Johnson27696467
Hendricks26313385
Porter25657386
Madison21131455
Clark20238279
Vigo19059309
LaPorte17192261
Howard16770314
Delaware16761303
Monroe16628220
Kosciusko14293167
Hancock13113186
Bartholomew12983190
Warrick12210190
Wayne12090269
Floyd12011226
Grant11998245
Morgan10409192
Boone9869124
Noble9316122
Henry9177169
Marshall9152147
Dearborn8970100
Dubois8835140
Shelby8281130
Cass8167128
Lawrence8057185
DeKalb7817109
Jackson770793
Huntington7661115
Gibson7102118
Montgomery7101123
Harrison6954100
Knox6915116
Steuben669089
Whitley659660
Miami6595113
Putnam645085
Clinton627179
Wabash6221111
Jasper613192
Jefferson5856105
Ripley557294
Adams542281
Daviess5076117
Scott491580
Wells4836105
White478469
Greene4701101
Clay464662
Decatur4611110
Fayette452496
Jennings452067
LaGrange427491
Posey410044
Randolph3944107
Washington390956
Fountain375964
Fulton364874
Spencer362247
Starke355574
Owen353577
Sullivan348555
Orange331372
Jay331050
Rush309533
Carroll296239
Franklin292744
Perry290553
Vermillion283658
Tipton251167
Parke250130
Pike248644
Blackford222144
Pulaski210359
Newton182452
Brown177550
Crawford169129
Benton168417
Martin152120
Switzerland147612
Warren135816
Union122616
Ohio92413
Unassigned0595

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1717876

Reported Deaths: 26851
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1793291843
Cuyahoga1681592655
Hamilton1137721544
Montgomery805721405
Summit719531210
Lucas630291027
Butler56852814
Stark538501183
Lorain42330645
Warren35959417
Mahoning35798788
Lake32314501
Clermont31289369
Trumbull27344620
Delaware27206185
Licking26658344
Medina26042353
Fairfield24638287
Greene24378373
Clark22122390
Portage21257283
Richland21102342
Wood20128248
Allen18969326
Miami17338352
Columbiana16905335
Muskingum16726207
Wayne15740307
Tuscarawas14454362
Marion13332196
Ashtabula12732237
Erie12685199
Scioto12475188
Pickaway12260155
Ross11719226
Hancock11529175
Geauga10934179
Lawrence10653172
Belmont10459234
Huron9805159
Jefferson9632228
Union957375
Sandusky9348166
Seneca8917161
Knox8792176
Washington8688159
Darke8399181
Athens838197
Ashland8029152
Auglaize7943120
Shelby7511135
Defiance7358117
Crawford7281150
Fulton7215113
Brown7173116
Logan7003111
Guernsey696186
Mercer6933100
Highland6745120
Clinton6526106
Williams650099
Madison649790
Preble6274140
Putnam6244122
Jackson581597
Champaign580887
Perry566779
Coshocton5645108
Ottawa5641102
Morrow517765
Fayette494072
Hardin4895100
Gallia471478
Van Wert467895
Pike465578
Adams4592110
Henry434280
Hocking410193
Holmes3999141
Wyandot377675
Carroll366178
Paulding325451
Meigs305961
Monroe235961
Noble220349
Morgan216939
Harrison213153
Vinton187638
Unassigned06
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Saturday is looking great, with warmer temperatures, wet and windy conditions returning Sunday.
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