US President 'warms up' to A-G Sessions after criticism

WASHINGTON • United States President Donald Trump had some warm words for Attorney-General Jeff Sessions after weeks of publicly slamming him.

"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!" Mr Trump wrote on Twitter last Saturday, from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Mr Sessions had been the public target of the President's anger recently because he had recused himself from a probe into allegations that Mr Trump's aides coordinated with Russia to tilt last year's election in his favour.

At one point, Mr Trump told The New York Times he would never have appointed Mr Sessions had he known the Attorney-General would recuse himself. Mr Trump also took to Twitter to blast Mr Sessions as "VERY weak", among other criticisms on social media. The attacks were widely seen as designed to force Mr Sessions into resigning.

However, the former Alabama senator appeared to be on Mr Trump's good side last Saturday, after launching a high-profile campaign to crack down on government employees who leak classified or sensitive information to the media.

The action comes after a spate of scoops - many of them unfavourable - about the Trump administration. "I strongly agree with the President and condemn in the strongest terms the staggering number of leaks undermining the ability of our government to protect this country," Mr Sessions told a press conference last Friday.

Mr Trump, who once asked "what's the point" of vacations and often admonished his presidential predecessor Barack Obama for taking them while in office, also pushed back on reports that his 17-day stay at his beloved Bedminster resort was a holiday.

"Working in Bedminster, N.J., as long (as) planned construction is being done at the White House. This is not a vacation - meetings and calls!" he tweeted.

The White House has said Mr Trump's Bedminster stay would be a "working vacation" and cited scheduled upgrades of the West Wing's creaky heating and cooling systems during the steamy Washington summer as a reason why Mr Trump was leaving town.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2017, with the headline 'US President 'warms up' to A-G Sessions after criticism'. Print Edition | Subscribe