Sessions brushes off Trump saying he would have 'picked somebody else' to head DOJ

WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday brushed off sharp criticism from President Donald Trump over his recusal from the Justice Department's Russia investigation, saying he loved his job and planned to continue serving.

"We love this job, we love this department, and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate," Sessions said at a news conference announcing a cyber crime bust.

Sessions was flanked by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who were both also criticized by the president in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday.

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) joins President Donald Trump (L) for an opioid and drug abuse listening session at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump speaks with Attorney General Jeff Sessions as they attend the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions speaks next to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally at Madison City Schools Stadium in Madison, Alabama February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry
U.S. President Donald Trump watches as Vice President Mike Pence (R) swears in Jeff Sessions (L) as U.S. Attorney General while his wife Mary Sessions holds the Bible in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 28: Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., left, endorses Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee for president during a campaign rally at Madison City Schools Stadium in Madison, Ala., February 28, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. President Donald Trump congratulates Jeff Sessions after he was sworn in as U.S. Attorney General as his wife Mary Sessions looks on during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sits with U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (L) and retired U.S. Army General Keith Kellogg (R) during a national security meeting with advisors at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a swearing-in ceremony for new Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Under a portrait of former President Andrew Jackson, U.S. President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Jeff Sessions after he was sworn in as U.S. Attorney General during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President Donald Trump reaches out toward Attorney General Jeff Sessions as they attend the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President-elect Donald Trump (C) talks with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (2nd L) and US Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions (L) as he arrives in Mobile, Alabama, for a 'Thank You Tour 2016' rally on December 17, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
MOBILE, AL - DECEMBER 17: President-elect Donald Trump greets Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump's picks for attorney general, during a thank you rally in Ladd-Peebles Stadium on December 17, 2016 in Mobile, Alabama. President-elect Trump has been visiting several states that he won, to thank people for their support during the U.S. election. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump watches as Vice President Mike Pence (R) swears in Jeff Sessions (L) as U.S. Attorney General while his wife Mary Sessions holds the Bible in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
MOBILE, AL- AUGUST 21: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump introduces Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) Mobile during his rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on August 21, 2015 in Mobile, Alabama. The Donald Trump campaign moved tonight's rally to a larger stadium to accommodate demand. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump congratulates Jeff Sessions after he was sworn in as U.S. Attorney General as his wife Mary Sessions looks on during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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Trump took a broad swipe at his administration's top law officers in the interview, saying he would not have appointed Sessions as attorney general if he had known he would recuse himself. The Republican president also noted Rosenstein's roots in Democratic Baltimore and that McCabe's wife took money from a leading Democrat during a political campaign.

Sessions recused himself in March from the probe into allegations Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible ties with the Trump campaign. He did so after failing to disclose at his confirmation hearing that he had held meetings last year with Russia's ambassador.

"Sessions should have never recused himself and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else," the Times quoted Trump as saying.

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Sessions was Trump's first supporter in the U.S. Senate and helped shape his political team throughout the campaign and into the transition period after the Nov. 8 election.

He declined to acknowledge Trump's criticism on Thursday.

"I have the honor of serving as attorney general. It's something that goes beyond any thought I would have ever had for myself," Sessions said.

Similarly, Rosenstein, asked about Trump's remarks that there were very few Republicans in Baltimore, declined to comment. "I was proud to be here yesterday, I'm proud to be here today, I'll be proud to work here tomorrow," he said

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