President Donald Trump reiterated his criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a White House press conference on July 25.
The president had recently attacked Sessions on Twitter for failing to investigate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, The Washington Post reported.
Asked by a reporter whether Sessions would remain at the head of the Justice Department, Trump responded by saying "time will tell."
"If he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have quite simply picked somebody else," added Trump, Politico reported. "I think that's a bad thing, not for the president, but for the presidency. I think it's unfair to the presidency."
Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation because he was a member of Trump's campaign team, which is one of the probe's targets.
Trump went on to urge Sessions to get tougher on leaks from the intelligence agencies.
The president was asked how long he would continue to criticize Sessions before firing him. In addition to his comments on July 25, Trump described Sessions as "beleaguered" in a tweet on July 24.
"I'll just see," he said, according to NBC News. "It's a very important thing."
Trump's remarks came hours after incoming White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked on Fox News whether Trump is planning to fire Sessions.
"Look, I know that he is frustrated and certainly disappointed in the attorney general for recusing himself but, as we've said, I think that's a decision that if the president wants to make, he certainly will," Sanders said, reports The Washington Post. "That frustration certainly hasn't gone away, and I don't think it will."
She was then asked to comment on speculation that Trump is preparing to turn to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to take over from Sessions.
"You know, I know he's somebody that he respects," Sanders answered.
Anthony Scaramucci, Trump's newly appointed director of communications, also spoke about the Trump-Sessions relationship July 25 in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt suggested that "it's clear the president wants [Sessions] gone."
"I have an enormous amount of respect for the attorney general, but I do know the president pretty well, and if there's this level of tension in the relationship that's public, you're probably right," said Scaramucci.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway was asked her opinion on whether Trump still has confidence in Sessions.
"That's up to the president," she said, according to NBC News.