President Donald Trump’s rebukes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions have included referring to him behind the scenes as “Mr. Magoo,” The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening.
Trump on Wednesday lashed out again at Sessions on Twitter for his oversight of the Justice Department.
The tweet prompted a rare response from Sessions, who in a statement defended his leadership of the department and its work.
Trump has made his disagreement with Sessions known clearly in the past, pointedly referring to the attorney general as “beleaguered” last year and saying he would not have chosen Sessions to lead the Justice Department had he known the former senator would recuse himself from oversight of the Russia investigation.
Sessions has stood by his decision and continued to offer no public signal that he intends to step down in face of the criticism, despite an apparent offer to resign after Trump berated him and called him an “idiot” last year, according to The New York Times.
Two law enforcement officials told CNN that staff aides gave Sessions a bulletproof vest as a gag gift to mark the anniversary of his first year in office earlier this month.
The Post, citing people to whom Trump has spoken, said the President has complained about Sessions not defending him and not being loyal enough, comparing Sessions unfavorably with lawyers who have worked for him personally, and had called Sessions “Mr. Magoo.”
“Mr. Magoo” was a 20th century cartoon about an old man who bumbles into comic situations because of his very poor eyesight.
The Post also said special counsel Robert Mueller is examining Trump’s reported efforts to fire Sessions last year, following a previous report from the paper last month saying Mueller had expressed interest in the President’s efforts to oust the attorney general.
CNN reported last month that Mueller’s office had spoken with Sessions, and the Times reported that the special counsel was aware of an unsuccessful attempt by Trump last year to prevent Sessions’ recusal.
CNN’s Evan Perez and Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.