Pence praises Sessions after Trump criticism

Pence praises Sessions after Trump criticism

Vice President Pence praised Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent Trump-aligned group launches ad campaign hitting Doug Jones on impeachment ICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: report MORE Wednesday, amid President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial 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 (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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 CollinsFormer Rep. Chris Collins sentenced to 2 years in prison for insider trading GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Democrats running to replace Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins vow to support ethics package MORE (R-N.Y.) and Duncan HunterDuncan HunterDemocrats running to replace Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins vow to support ethics package California governor won't call special election for Duncan Hunter's seat Rep. Duncan Hunter plans to resign next week 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."