Sessions Offers Meek Defense Of FBI In Face Of Trump’s Attacks

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference in Baltimore, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, to announce efforts to combat the MS-13 street gang with law enforcement and immigration actions. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday offered a meek defense of the FBI, which has faced harsh criticism from President Donald Trump in recent days.

“I got to tell you, sometimes, things that might appear to be bad in the press have more innocent explanations,” Sessions said cryptically during a press conference Friday. “And so fairness and justice should also be provided to our personnel.”

He was more explicit when a reporter asked if he shared Trump’s view that the FBI’s reputation and status is “in tatters.”

“I don’t share the view that the FBI is not functioning at a high level all over the country,” Sessions said.

“In my view, the FBI has huge national security requirements. It is also fulfilling a fabulously important role of working to fight against violent crime.”

Sessions noted that Trump had spoken to the FBI National Academy’s graduating class — the first time a president had done so in 47 years, he said — and assured them that “we are going to be a law enforcement administration that helps law enforcement be successful.”