With five pointed words, President Donald Trump issued his most stinging rebuke to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter Wednesday.
After quoting U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC, who criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and said that President Trump could have picked from a variety of qualified lawyers to head the Department of Justice instead of Sessions, President Trump ended the series of three tweets with, “And I wish I did.”
Sessions, a former Republican U.S. Senator from Alabama, was one of President Trump’s biggest supporters during the 2016 campaign and the first to endorse the New York real estate tycoon in his bid for office.
After a lengthy and contentious confirmation process in front of his former senate colleagues, Sessions became the top law enforcement officer in the country.
As an investigation into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election heated up, leading to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and allegations that the Trump campaign allegedly colluded with Russians to beat opponent Hillary Clinton, Sessions recused himself from having anything to do with the investigation.
Sessions’ inability to act or direct the investigation caused President Trump to openly criticize his former ally in various published reports and on social media.
Those criticisms, however, did not indicate that President Trump planned on firing Sessions.
In a USA Today article, Gowdy said he could understand President Trump’s “frustration” that Sessions took himself out of the investigation, and believes Sessions should not have removed himself from overseeing it.
“I think what the President is doing is expressing frustration that Attorney General Sessions should have shared these reasons for recusal before he took the job, not afterward,” Gowdy said. “If I were the President and I picked someone to be the country’s chief law enforcement officer, and they told me later, ‘oh by the way I’m not going to be able to participate in the most important case in the office, I would be frustrated too…and that’s how I read that – Senator Sessions, why didn’t you tell me before I picked you There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!”
President Trump’s simple, concise, response shows some “buyer’s remorse” for the appointment, but officials quoted in the USA Today story say that it is doubtful he would take steps to oust Sessions because getting another nominee to pass Senate muster for confirmation would not be likely.
USA Today reports that Gowdy made his comments in response to a New York Times story that claims the Mueller investigation is now looking to see if President Trump’s efforts to get Sessions to reconsider his recusal are grounds for obstruction of justice charges.