Sessions: I'll serve as long as Trump wants me to

Sessions: I'll serve as long as Trump wants me to
© Greg Nash

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman President Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump MORE said Thursday that he will remain at the helm of the Justice Department as long as President Trump wants him to.

"I serve at the pleasure of the president. I’ve understood that from the day I took the job," Sessions told The Associated Press, acknowledging that the president has the authority to fire him if he sees fit.

The attorney general said that he and Trump have a "harmony of values and beliefs," though he acknowledged that their relationship has been rocky in recent days, saying it hasn't been the "best week" for them.

Sessions similarly said last week that he would stay in his role "as long as that is appropriate."

The attorney general made his latest comments while in El Salvador, where he is meeting with officials on trying to quash the violent street gang known as MS-13.

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Trump and Sessions have been engaged in a public standoff that began last week, when the president told The New York Times in an interview that he would have picked someone else as attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the federal probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

In the days that followed, Trump continued to unleash a steady stream of attacks on Sessions, whom he called "beleaguered." Trump accused his attorney general of taking a "VERY weak" stand against alleged "crimes" committed by former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBloomberg called Warren 'scary,' knocked Obama's first term in leaked audio Trump trails Democratic challengers among Catholic voters: poll Sanders under fire from Democrats over praise for Castro regime MORE, his 2016 Democratic opponent.

But in spite of Trump's criticism, the president hasn't removed the attorney general and Sessions has indicated that he has no intention of stepping down.

Asked during a news conference on Tuesday whether he was willing to fire Sessions, Trump simply responded that "we will see what happens."

The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that Trump has discussed with confidants and advisers the possibility of installing a new attorney general with a recess appointment if Sessions were to resign his post.

Republican lawmakers have rallied around Sessions in recent days, warning the president against firing his attorney general or trying to make a recess appointment.