President Donald Trump praised Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Saturday for “taking action” against leaks, providing a reprieve to the relationship following numerous public attacks on Sessions over the past month, Politico reports.
“After many years of LEAKS going on in Washington, it is great to see the A.G. taking action! For National Security, the tougher the better!” Trump wrote on Twitter, praising Sessions Friday news conference, at which the attorney general was sharply critical of leaking.
Though the president has not dismissed Sessions, he has voiced his dissatisfaction with the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the federal Russia investigation, a move that helped lead to the installation of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel.
Among the many barbs lobbed at Sessions, Trump called his attorney general “beleaguered” and openly griped that the Department of Justice was not investigating Hillary Clinton for “crimes & Russia relations”. Republicans on Capitol Hill largely closed ranks around Sessions, who is a former senator.
Newly appointed White House chief of staff John Kelly has reportedly assured the attorney general that his position in the administration is safe. Kelly is also reportedly trying to rein in Trump’s often erratic statements on Twitter, which, since Kelly took over on Monday, have not featured additional criticisms of Sessions.
On Friday, Sessions said the federal government is cracking down on leaks and is “reviewing the policies affecting media subpoenas.” The attorney general’s statements were interpreted by some as a way for Sessions to get back into the president’s good graces by addressing a topic Trump has repeatedly complained about.
Trump also took to Twitter to dismiss claims that his planned 17-day stay at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort was “a vacation,” stressing that he planned to take “meetings and calls” while there. The president, who refrained from using social media for most of the day, tweeted Saturday evening to dispute notions that he was taking time off in the Garden State.
Trump also tweeted approvingly of the United Nations Security Council unanimously passing increased sanctions on North Korea.
As the president pointed out, the White House is getting extensive renovations during his absence. White House social media director and assistant to the president Dan Scavino tweeted a picture of the Oval Office’s famed Resolute Desk getting carried out on Saturday as work began.
Past White House staffers, including Obama administration officials, told Politico this week that while no location beats the West Wing, the building is in need of some major work.
As for the president’s schedule in New Jersey, an official told the press pool “the President will be having meetings with Chief of Staff General Kelly, other White House advisers and lawmakers while at Bedminster over next two weeks” billing Trump’s trip as a “working vacation”.