Pence praises Sessions after Trump criticism

Pence praises Sessions after Trump criticism

Vice President Pence praised Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight The Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war MORE Wednesday, amid President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE’s frequent criticism of the nation’s top Justice official.

“I hold Jeff Sessions in the highest regard. I appreciate his service to the nation,” Pence told reporters on Capitol Hill, as first tweeted by CNN.

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Despite being the first member of Congress to endorse Trump’s campaign, the former Alabama senator has become a recurring foil for the president, who often criticizes his attorney general for recusing himself from overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s probe into Russian election interference, including possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. 

“The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself...I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined...and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!” Trump tweeted in June.

Most recently, Trump bashed Sessions after Reps. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsFighting AIDS domestically and globally means pushing more evidence-based services House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 The Memo: Pelosi ups ante in Trump showdown MORE (R-N.Y.) and Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 What a year it’s been: A month-by-month look back at 2018's biggest stories Bipartisan lawmakers unveil bill to tighten some campaign rules MORE (R-Calif.) were indicted on insider trading and campaign finance violations charges, respectively.

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff,” the president tweeted Monday.

At least one GOP lawmaker has speculated that Trump will fire Sessions after the midterm elections, and Trump in an interview last month indicated Sessions's job was safe until then.

Trump also reportedly in private called Sessions “mentally retarded” and a "dumb Southerner" who "couldn't even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama," according to Bob Woodward’s upcoming book "Fear: Trump in the White House."  

Trump has denied calling Sessions those names. 

Despite taking verbal abuse from the president regarding the Mueller probe, Sessions maintains he is focused on Trump administration policies regarding immigration, such as the “zero tolerance” policy, and said last month that "the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations."