Trump on Fox News
Fox News Channel
Trump on Fox News
Now playing
01:19
Trump on Sessions: What kind of man is this?
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks on during a press conference regarding the arrest of bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc in Florida, at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC on October 26, 2018. - The suspect has been charged with five federal crimes in connection with more than a dozen suspicious packages sent in a US mail bombing spree, Sessions said. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks on during a press conference regarding the arrest of bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc in Florida, at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC on October 26, 2018. - The suspect has been charged with five federal crimes in connection with more than a dozen suspicious packages sent in a US mail bombing spree, Sessions said. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:18
Jeff Sessions out as attorney general
 US President Donald Trump applauds after addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017.
President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. "We are going to fight and win" Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing March 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced new actions against sanctuary cities that seek Justice Department grants during his surprise appearance. Also pictured is White House press secretary Sean Spicer
Getty Images
US President Donald Trump applauds after addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017. President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. "We are going to fight and win" Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing March 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced new actions against sanctuary cities that seek Justice Department grants during his surprise appearance. Also pictured is White House press secretary Sean Spicer
Now playing
02:36
How Trump and Sessions's relationship deteriorated
WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions will travel to Boston, Massachusetts, on Monday, October 29, 2018 to give remarks to the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society on the Future of Religious Liberty.
CNN
WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions will travel to Boston, Massachusetts, on Monday, October 29, 2018 to give remarks to the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society on the Future of Religious Liberty.
Now playing
01:46
Pastor to Sessions: Repent, help those in need
US President Donald Trump sits with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on December 15, 2017 in Quantico, Virginia, before participating in the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump sits with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on December 15, 2017 in Quantico, Virginia, before participating in the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony.
Now playing
02:13
Trump: I'm disappointed in Sessions
CNN
Now playing
01:55
Sessions warns about fake immigration claims
CNN
Now playing
00:48
Kellyanne Conway: Sessions doing a great job
CNN Illustration/Getty Images
Now playing
02:04
Trump's feud with Sessions escalates again
President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on December 15, 2017 in Quantico, Virginia, before participating in the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on December 15, 2017 in Quantico, Virginia, before participating in the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony.
Now playing
00:59
Source: Trump pressured Sessions to reverse recusal
 US President Donald Trump applauds after addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017.
President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. "We are going to fight and win" Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing March 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced new actions against sanctuary cities that seek Justice Department grants during his surprise appearance. Also pictured is White House press secretary Sean Spicer
Getty Images
US President Donald Trump applauds after addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017. President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. "We are going to fight and win" Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing March 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced new actions against sanctuary cities that seek Justice Department grants during his surprise appearance. Also pictured is White House press secretary Sean Spicer
Now playing
01:57
Trump tweets he wishes he picked different AG
US President Donald Trump departs the White House July 31, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump departs the White House July 31, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:04
Trump: Sessions should end Russia probe now
jeff sessions
POOL
jeff sessions
Now playing
00:55
Sessions defends Trump on immigration policy
POOL
Now playing
02:12
Sessions rips schools for 'snowflake' culture
AG Sessions - Turning Point USA HS Leadership Summit Remarks  Attorney General Jeff Sessions will deliver remarks at Turning Point USA's High School Leadership Summit  OPEN PRESS (Camera Preset for K9 security sweep: 7:30 a.m. EDT // Final access time for print media without gear: 8:45 a.m. EDT)   NOTE:  All media must RSVP and present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver's license) as well as valid media credentials. (CNN has RSVP'd)
POOL
AG Sessions - Turning Point USA HS Leadership Summit Remarks Attorney General Jeff Sessions will deliver remarks at Turning Point USA's High School Leadership Summit OPEN PRESS (Camera Preset for K9 security sweep: 7:30 a.m. EDT // Final access time for print media without gear: 8:45 a.m. EDT) NOTE: All media must RSVP and present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver's license) as well as valid media credentials. (CNN has RSVP'd)
Now playing
01:36
Jeff Sessions repeats 'lock her up' chant
Fox News
Now playing
01:03
Sessions: Detention centers not like Nazi Germany
Washington CNN —  

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired back at President Donald Trump Thursday afternoon, after Trump said he “never took control” of the Justice Department.

“While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States,” Sessions said in a statement.

“I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda – one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty.”

“I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law,” he added.

Trump has frequently criticized Sessions since taking office and often expresses frustration over the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

The assertion from the attorney general that he has in fact taken control of the Justice Department comes after the President lashed out at Sessions in an interview that aired on Fox News Thursday morning.

After months of attacks, Sessions spoke up on Thursday in part because the President said on Fox News that he “never took control of the Justice Department” – a “macro” criticism that struck a different tone than Trump’s more granular gripes on Twitter about different individual cases like former FBI employees Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, according to a source familiar with the attorney general’s thinking.

“I put in an attorney general who never took control of the Justice Department. Jeff Sessions, never took control of the Justice Department. It’s sort of an incredible thing,” Trump said during the interview.

Trump said during the interview that even his “enemies” have told him that Sessions should have informed him he was planning to recuse himself so that he could have picked a different attorney general.

“What kind of a man is this?,” Trump said, recalling his reaction when he found out that Sessions decided to recuse.

Earlier this month, Trump escalated his criticism of the nation’s top law enforcement officer when he said in a tweet that Sessions is “scared stiff and Missing in Action.”

Trump’s criticism of the Justice Department has gone further than just targeting Sessions. “Everybody sees what’s going on in the Justice Department, I always put justice now with quotes,” Trump said during the Fox News interview.

Trump did not directly answer whether he plans to fire Sessions or deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation, when asked during the Fox News interview.

The last time the attorney general fired back at the President was months ago.

Sessions pushed back after Trump chastised him in late February over an investigation into alleged surveillance abuses, calling his approach “disgraceful” in a tweet.

In response, Sessions defended his work and the department in a statement, saying, “As long as I am the attorney general, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution.”

Sessions met with the President at the White House Thursday, along with aides Jared Kushner and Mercedes Schlapp, to discuss prison reform. A White House official said Sessions was not fired, and there was no resignation.

Another source familiar with the meeting said nothing negative regarding Sessions’ future as attorney general came up during the gathering. This source said the meeting was a “win” for Sessions as Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s prison reform bill was “shelved” by the White House. The President is not on board with the bill, the source said.

A separate source who was in the room for the meeting says Trump and Sessions had a cordial meeting discussing prison reform. Neither of them raised their public exchange of criticism of one another.

CNN’s Jim Acosta, Jeremy Diamond and Phil Mattingly contributed to this report