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'I Plan To Continue... As Long As That Is Appropriate': Jeff Sessions Says He'll Stay On As Attorney General Following Rebuke From President Trump

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) - President Donald Trump launched a remarkable and very public rebuke of one of his most important allies.

Trump told the New York Times he regrets appointing Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.

As CBS2's Dick Brennan reported, Sessions responded to the rebuke at a news conference Thursday.

"I have the honor of serving as Attorney General. It's something that goes beyond any thought I would have ever had for myself. We love this job. We love this department, and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate," Sessions said.

With that qualifier 'as long as it's appropriate' Sessions said he is staying on the job.

Leaks from the White House indicated the president was unhappy with sessions for recusing himself from any supervision of the Russia investigation.

Trump put his unhappiness on the record when speaking with the Times.

"If he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else," Trump said. "It's extremely unfair, and that's a mild word, to the president."

Many interpreted the president's words as a call for Sessions to step down.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara tweeted "The president today effectively asked Sessions for his resignation. Will he resign or insist on being fired?"

At a law enforcement event in Washington, Sessions gave every indication he's hanging on.

"We in this Department of Justice will continue every single day to work hard to serve the national interest, and we wholeheartedly join in the priorities of President Trump," Sessions said.

The criticism appears to be without precedent, but White House Deputy Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president is not trying to force Sessions out.

"Clearly he has confidence in him, or he would not be the Attorney General," she said.

A conservative Trump ally moved to support Sessions Thursday morning.

"No one can match the excellence of Jeff Sessions. He is the best cabinet appointment that President Trump has made," said Rep. Steve King (R-Ohio).

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General had no comment when asked if he spoke with the president this morning, or whether the men planned to meet.



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