President Donald Trump slapped back at Jeff Sessions early Friday — the latest attack in an ongoing exchange of barbs between the two men — daring his attorney general to investigate Democrats and intelligence officials.
In a pair of tweets, Trump quoted a line Sessions himself used a day earlier in responding to an earlier criticism from his boss, before demanding the nation's top law enforcement official “look into all of the corruption on the ‘other side.'”
“Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations," Sessions said in a statement Thursday, in an unusual push back to Trump.
Trump, quoting that sentence, goes on to tweet, "Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the ‘other side’ including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr..........FISA abuse, Christopher Steele & his phony and corrupt Dossier, the Clinton Foundation, illegal surveillance of Trump Campaign, Russian collusion by Dems - and so much more.”
“Open up the papers & documents without redaction? Come on Jeff, you can do it, the country is waiting!” Trump added.
Trump also tweeted about Reality Winner, the former government contractor who was sentenced to more than five years in prison on Thursday for leaking U.S. secrets about Russia's attempts to hack the 2016 presidential election, writing that it was "so unfair, Jeff" because it was "'small potatoes' compared to what Hillary Clinton did!"
The tweets marked the second consecutive day that Trump attacked Sessions.
In a Thursday interview with “Fox and Friends,” Trump — who has repeatedly criticized Sessions for recusing himself from any federal probe into Russian election meddling and has called on him to end special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation — pounced on his attorney general, saying he didn't take control of the Justice Department.
But Sessions fired back at his boss hours later, saying, “I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda."
The escalating feud led several Republican senators to warn Trump Thursday afternoon to not fire Sessions.
Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., in a speech on the Senate floor, said it would be a "very, very, very bad idea to fire" Sessions "because he's not executing his job as a political hack," adding that he found it "difficult to envision any circumstance" under which he'd vote to confirm a successor to Sessions if Sessions were fired for political reasons.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, also urged Trump to not fire Sessions, telling reporters there wasn't a "likely candidate who can get confirmed" to replace him.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., suggested to Bloomberg News that Trump could fire his attorney general, but not until after the November midterm elections, while Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said "it would be very harmful to his own situation" if Trump fired Sessions.
Trump has criticized Sessions several times since the attorney general announced his recusal in March 2017. In May 2017, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, which ultimately led Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Mueller as special counsel.