The Latest: Rare public challenge by Sessions to Trump barb

The Latest: Rare public challenge by Sessions to Trump barb
The Latest: Rare public challenge by Sessions to Trump barb

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending himself against President Donald Trump’s attacks about how the nation’s top law enforcement official is handling Republican complaints about the Russia investigation.

Sessions rarely stands up in public to criticism from his boss. But this time, Sessions is fighting back, saying he’s done the right thing by referring allegations of FBI surveillance abuse to the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.

And Sessions says in a public statement that “as long as I am the attorney general, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor.”

Earlier Wednesday, Trump said Sessions’ decision to rely on the department’s inspector general for the review was “disgraceful” – and claimed that the inquiry would “take forever.” Trump said he preferred that Justice Department lawyers handle the matter.

But Sessions says “we have initiated the appropriate process that will ensure complaints against this department will be fully and fairly acted upon if necessary.”


10:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump says his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, isn’t doing enough to investigate whether the FBI abused government surveillance powers in the Russia probe.

Sessions has said the Justice Department’s inspector general will evaluate whether prosecutors and agents abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in obtaining a warrant to monitor the communications of a onetime Trump associate.

Trump’s taken to Twitter to question why Sessions is relying on the department’s internal watchdog “to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse.” Trump believes the inspector general will “take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. … Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!”

A separate review of the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation under former Director James Comey is not late.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions talks with Senate staffer Sharon Soderstrom before the arrival of President Donald Trump to a ceremony honoring Reverend Billy Graham in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)