US Attorney General Jeff Sessions takes part in a Cabinet meeting
President Donald Trump urged his Attorney General Jeff Sessions to sue certain pharmaceutical companies that have contributed to the opioid crisis in the United States.
“I’d also like to ask you to bring a major lawsuit against the drug companies on opioids,” Trump told Sessions during a cabinet meeting on Thursday. “Some states have done it. But I’d like a lawsuit to be brought against these companies that are really sending opioids at a level that it shouldn’t be happening.”
How Sessions responded: The Justice Department has joined state lawsuits against opioid companies that officials believe have helped fuel a national opioid crisis, Sessions said, but Trump said he would like the Justice Department to pursue a separate federal lawsuit against certain drug companies. (Trump did not specify which companies he would like the Justice Department to sue.)
Sessions said the Justice Department is “looking at various different legal avenues to go after abusive companies.”
“You’ve made clear you want us to sue and use legal process against drug companies that are abusing the law for some time now. We have joined with the states and we are looking at various different legal avenues to go after abusive companies,” Sessions said.
Sessions also noted that the Justice Department has indicted 170 physicians who have unlawfully prescribed opioids.
What Trump said about Sessions earlier: The back-and-forth between Trump and Sessions came just two days after Trump unleashed his latest public criticism of his attorney general, tweeting that “if we had a real Attorney General,” the special counsel’s investigation “would never have been started.”