Live

Watch CBSN Live

Sean Spicer declines to say how much confidence Trump has in Jeff Sessions

Trump and Sessions
Trump and Sessions 04:43

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer declined to say Tuesday whether President Trump still has confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, after lashing out at the Department of Justice Monday for sending a "watered down" version of his travel ban to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

"I have not had a discussion with him about that," Spicer said when CBS Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett asked if he could describe the president's level of confidence in his attorney general. 

Spicer also passed on two follow-up questions to clarify that statement, offering no further explanation or reaffirmation of the president's past regard for his attorney general. Mr. Trump on Monday tweeted that the Justice Department should have stuck with the original travel ban, not the "watered down" version that has been submitted for Supreme Court review. Spicer's lack of a comment on Sessions also comes the day after the New York Times published a report claiming Mr. Trump "has grown sour" on his attorney general, and that the president blames Sessions for some of the troubles plaguing the White House. 

Sessions was one of Mr. Trump's most vocal supporters during the campaign, and his style -- similar to Mr. Trump's in that he shuns political correctness -- has seemed to fit well with the president's style. Sessions in April said he was "amazed" an "island judge" in Hawaii  could block the president's travel ban. 

Spicer's silence on Sessions comes two days before fired FBI Director James Comey gives much-anticipated testimony before the Senate on his interactions with Mr. Trump. In one, the president asked Comey to drop his investigation into ousted former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Sessions was in charge of the probe into Russian election meddling, before recusing himself from the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also ultimately recused himself from the Russia probe, selecting former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the investigation as a special prosecutor. 

Spicer did not say whether Mr. Trump will watch Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday at 10 a.m., saying the president will have a "very busy day."

The White House press secretary also defended the president's use of social media, saying the medium is an "effective" tool for him to promote his own messages. 

"They're considered official statements by the president of the United States," Spicer said of the president's Twitter comments.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue