Jeff Sessions Stands Firm, Gains Broad Support as Trump Ramps Up Attacks

Sessions profile Jacquelyn MartinAP
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears to be standing firm in the face of a barrage of attacks from President Trump, with multiple reports saying he has no intention of resigning despite being in Trump’s crosshairs.

Trump has been publicly criticizing Sessions for a week on a host of issues, particularly Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from any investigation into Russian interference. Trump ramped up his attacks Tuesday when he said he was “very disappointed in Jeff Sessions” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Trump also demurred on whether he would fire Sessions: “I’m just looking at it,” he said. “I’ll just see. It’s a very important thing.” At a press conference in the Rose Garden Trump also expressed his disappointment in Sessions and called his decision to recuse himself “unfair to the presidency.”

On Wednesday he took aim at Sessions on Twitter for not replacing acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe for his links to Hillary Clinton. In June, Trump nominated Christopher Wray to succeed fired FBI Director James Comey.

But despite the unprecedented pressure to resign from a president put upon his attorney general, it seems Sessions is planning on staying put.

Axios reported Wednesday that Sessions allies say he won’t quit, and that if Trump wants him out, the president will have to fire him.

“This is his life’s work and dream job,” the outlet said.

The Washington Post reported that Sessions’ chief of staff Jody Hunt recently told White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus that Sessions will not be stepping down and has “no plans for resigning.”

In particular, Sessions has been committed to a hardline agenda on immigration, something he has been fighting for in the Senate for years. Since becoming attorney general, Sessions has fought for Trump’s travel ban, ramped up pressure on “sanctuary cities,” and has increased the number of immigration judges to help speed up deportations.

On Tuesday, Sessions launched a new crackdown on sanctuary cities, with the DOJ announcing it won’t give them grant money unless they give feds access to jails and alert them to when an immigrant facing deportation is due to be released.

Meanwhile, a number of major conservative voices have come out in support of the embattled attorney general.

Tea Party Patriots, a key grassroots conservative organization, called Sessions “one of the strongest and most consistent allies we have and can think of no better person to serve as President Trump’s Attorney General.”

Former senator and chairman of the Conservative Partnership Institute Jim DeMint called Sessions “a trusted conservative leader and someone we know will defend the Constitution.”

Saying he understood Trump’s frustration with the narrative, he added: “But pushing Jeff Sessions out won’t get Congress to move forward on his policies or stop liberals attacks, and Trump would lose a great ally and widely respected advocate for the rule of law.”

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization that advocates for tougher immigraton policies, tweeted out its support of Sessions.

At the Hill meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sessions is doing a “fine job” and made the right decision to recuse himself, while lawmakers from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) offered their support for the besieged attorney general.

“Jeff Sessions is a friend and a strong conservative,” Cruz said in a statement. “I was proud to vote to confirm Jeff and to vigorously defend his confirmation, and I’m deeply gratified that we have a principled conservative like Jeff Sessions serving as Attorney General.”

Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter:  @AdamShawNY

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