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Jeff Sessions vows to stay on as attorney general despite Trump rebukes

The US Attorney General has refused to resign after being rebuked by Donald Trump for recusing himself from the Justice Department's probe into Russian meddling. Trump has said he shouldn't have appointed him.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday said he was adamant to continue as head of the US Justice Department, despite being openly excoriated by his boss, US President Donald Trump.

"We love this job, we love this department and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate," the US' top prosecutor said, referring to himself and his staff.

Read more: Donald Trump's son, ex-campaign manager called to testify next week

Sessions, a vocal Trump supporter during last year's presidential election, was one of the president's first appointments, taking over as head of the Justice Department in February.

Watch video 03:16

Jeff Sessions denies Russia collusion

However, just a month after his appointment, Sessions removed himself from a Justice Department-led probe into alleged Russian meddling in the US election, after it emerged he had failed to disclose his meetings with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.

On Wednesday, in an interview with the US New York Times newspaper, Trump launched a blistering rebuke against Sessions, saying he never would have appointed him as attorney general had he known that he would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Read more: 'Expect more of the same from Donald Trump'

 "Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president," Trump said. "How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, 'Thanks, Jeff, but I'm not going to take you.' It's extremely unfair - and that's a mild word - to the president."

The comments stoked suggestions that the president has been frustrated with his attorney general for a number of months.

Watch video 01:51

Sessions recuses self from Russia probe

Sessions tries to deflect attention away from Trump rebuke

During a press confidence on Thursday, Sessions struggled to focus public attention on the case he had wanted to speak about, namely the shutdown of two of the biggest darknet marketplaces for drugs and weapons.

When asked how he could stay on in his position without the president's confidence, Sessions responded: "We're serving right now. The work we're doing today is the kind of work we intend to continue."

Read more: Opinion: Donald Trump and the art of creating chaos

Sessions was flanked by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCab, both of whom were also singled out in Trump's tirade.

Like Sessions, Rosenstein declined to comment on Trump's remarks, saying:  "I was proud to be here yesterday, I'm proud to be here today, I'll be proud to work here tomorrow."

dm/cl (AP, Reuters)

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