WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions deflected questions on Thursday about whether he can stay in his post after President Trump expressed a lack of confidence in Mr. Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
Mr. Sessions said he loves his job and will continue to serve “as long as that is appropriate.”
Asked whether he is considering resigning, Mr. Sessions said he and his colleagues intend to continue to do their jobs.
“We are serving right now. The work we are doing today is the kind of work that we intend to continue,” he said during a news conference announcing what he described as the dismantling of a dark web operation that sold narcotics and other illicit goods.
“I am totally confident that we can continue to run this office in an effective way,” he added.
In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said he never would have appointed Mr. Sessions had he known he would recuse himself from overseeing the investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. The inquiry has dogged Mr. Trump’s presidency.
“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” Mr. Trump said in the interview. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.”
Mr. Sessions, an early supporter of Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign, stepped aside from the investigation in March amid revelations that he had failed to disclose contacts he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the campaign. Mr. Sessions’s decision to step aside set in motion a series of moves at the Justice Department that helped prompt the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the investigation.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Sessions declined to comment on whether he and the president had discussed Mr. Trump’s rebuke, or whether the men were scheduled to meet.