Trump Won't Say Whether Sessions Should Go, Says He Should Get Tougher on Leaks

By Melanie Arter | July 25, 2017 | 6:58 PM EDT

President Donald Trump (Screenshot of C-SPAN video)

( - President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, but he stopped short of saying he would fire Sessions.

When asked whether the president has lost confidence in Sessions, if he wants Sessions to resign, plans to fire Sessions, and why he's letting Sessions "twist in the wind" rather than make the call for him, Trump said, "I don't think I am doing that, but I am disappointed in the attorney general.

"He should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office, and if he was gong to recuse himself, he should have told me, and I would have quite simply picked someone else. So I think it was a bad thing, not for the president but for the presidency. I think it's unfair to the presidency, and that's the way I feel," he said during a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Another reporter pressed the president again about whether he plans to fire Sessions or if Sessions should resign. Trump was also asked whether he feels Sessions should stay as attorney general and why.

"I want the attorney general to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before at a very important level. These are intelligence agencies. We cannot have that happen," Trump said.

"You know many of my views in addition to that, but I think that's one of the very important things that they have to get on with. I told you before I'm very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell," he added.

As previously reported, incoming White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there have been more than 60 hacks in the first six months of the administration coming from the intelligence community.

On health care, the president said he was "extremely happy" that Senate Republicans voted to for a motion to proceed on the Senate health care bill.

"This is, they say if you look historically, this is the tough vote to get. Now we're all going to sit together, and we're all going to try and come up with something that's really spectacular," Trump said. "We have a lot of options, and a lot of great options, and the Republican senators really went out there. 

"It's not easy when you have 52 senators, and you have a block of 48 voting against you. No matter what it is, no matter how good it sounds, it's very hard to get the kind of numbers we got. We ended up with 51 votes, 51 to whatever. I don't know what it is, yeah 51 to 50, so we had two Republicans that voted against us, which is sad, I think. It's very, very sad for them, but I'm very, very happy with the result," he said.

"I believe now we will over the next week or two come up with a plan that's going to be really, really wonderful for the American people," Trump said. He also thanked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for traveling to D.C. from Arizona after his brain cancer diagnosis.  

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