Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired back against President Donald Trump and his months of criticism over the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

The statement came just hours after the president gave an interview with Fox and Friends on Wednesday. Trump told host Ainsley Earhardt, “I put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department. Jeff Sessions never took control of the Justice Department and it’s a sort of an incredible thing.” The president added, “He took the job and then he said, ‘I’m going to recuse myself.’ I said, ‘What kind of a man is this?'”

In his most forceful public pushback yet on the president, Sessions issued a statement defending the integrity of his department, saying the Justice Department will not be “improperly influenced by political considerations.”

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

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 The exchange comes amid heightened speculation that Sessions could be fired. Earlier Thursday, Senator Lindsey Graham said that Trump could remove Sessions after the November midterms. “I think there will come a time, sooner rather than later, where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice,” Graham told reporters.