Pence praises Sessions after Trump criticism

Pence praises Sessions after Trump criticism

Vice President Pence praised Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' Acting AG Whitaker's wife defends him in lengthy email to journalist Watchdog: Thousands more migrant children separated from parents than previously known MORE Wednesday, amid President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Ann Coulter blasts Trump shutdown compromise: ‘We voted for Trump and got Jeb!’ 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 CollinsWhat a year it’s been: A month-by-month look back at 2018's biggest stories Trump vents frustration over wall funding, fueling uncertainty over shutdown GOP scrambles to prevent shutdown after right-wing insurrection MORE (R-N.Y.) and Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterWhat 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 California dreamin’ in the 2020 presidential race 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."