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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

Donald Trump derides Jeff Sessions with 'I don't have an attorney general' remarks

The US president has become increasingly agitated over Robert Mueller's Russia probe

President Donald Trump waves as he walks across the south lawn of the White House in Washington on September 19, 2018. AP Photo
President Donald Trump waves as he walks across the south lawn of the White House in Washington on September 19, 2018. AP Photo

President Donald Trump has lambasted his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, deriding the nation's top law officer who the White House has deemed the biggest obstacle to halting a probe over election collusion with Russia.

"I don't have an attorney general. It's very sad," Trump told the online site Hill.TV, stepping up apparent pressure on Sessions to resign.

"I'm so sad over Jeff Sessions because he came to me. He was the first senator that endorsed me. And he wanted to be attorney general, and I didn't see it," the US president said on Wednesday.

Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised Mr Sessions for recusing himself from involvement in the investigation of whether the president's 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the election.

He also said he was frustrated with Mr Sessions over the continued flow of illegal immigrants into the country across the Mexican border.

"I'm not happy at the border, I'm not happy with numerous things, not just this," he told the online video unit of The Hill, a news site that covers the US Congress and politics.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been cast asunder, but not yet fired, by Donald Trump. Reuters
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been cast asunder, but not yet fired, by Donald Trump. Reuters

"It turned out he didn't have to recuse himself. Actually, the FBI reported shortly thereafter any reason for him to recuse himself. And it's very sad what happened."

Mr Sessions shocked President Trump on March 2, 2017 which he officially announced he would not have any oversight or involvement in the Russia probe, now in the hands of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr Sessions took the action because he himself had been an official in Mr Trump's campaign, and because he had contacts with Russia's ambassador during the election battle.

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By putting the probe in the hands of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mr Sessions effectively made it more difficult for President Trump to influence or even block it.

Mr Mueller has already gained convictions of several former Trump aides, including ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

With Mr Mueller now believed to be investigating whether Trump or members of his family were involved in collusion, in recent months the president has stepped up public attacks on Sessions.