Washington (AFP) – Donald Trump’s war of words against his attorney general and one-time ally Jeff Sessions escalated Monday, raising speculation the president may be preparing the ground to replace him.
Trump took to Twitter to declare his top lawyer “beleaguered” as he wondered out loud why Sessions was not investigating 2016 presidential candidate and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
“So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?” Trump asked.
US presidents normally avoid being seen as influential on ongoing or possible investigations at all costs.
But it is Trump’s comments about his erstwhile friend that have raised eyebrows.
Trump has expressed increasing anger with Sessions as his Justice Department’s investigations into possible Trump-Russia collusion has quickened.
Last week, Trump publicly upbraided Sessions for stepping back from issues related to the probe.
Sessions recused himself because of his role on Trump’s campaign and previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador in Washington.
Trump said he would never have hired Sessions had he known of his recusal before.
“I think is very unfair to the president,” Trump said. “It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president.”
Sessions said he had no plans to resign.
That increasingly appears problematic for Trump, as he struggles to influence an investigation that has ensnared his eldest son, son-in-law and top aides.
In May, Trump fired FBI director James Comey over the bureau’s investigation into Russia.
That led to the appointment of high-powered special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Shortly after Trump’s tweet website Axios reported that Trump was considering replacing Sessions with another early supporter, Rudy Giuliani, a former New York mayor.
If he were confirmed by Congress, that appointment could open the door to Trump firing the special prosecutor or having an attorney general who can directly influence the investigation.