Pence praises Sessions after Trump criticism

Pence praises Sessions after Trump criticism

Vice President Pence praised Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Nadler subpoenas Lewandowski, former White House official for testimony MORE Wednesday, amid President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? 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 MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report 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 CollinsNate McMurray launches second challenge against GOP Rep. Chris Collins Michael Caputo eyes congressional bid House ethics panel renews probes into three GOP lawmakers MORE (R-N.Y.) and Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterDuncan Hunter's attorneys look to delay trial by over a month Duncan Hunter gets another GOP challenger Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border 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."