The White House says it will reach a decision “soon” on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been publicly humiliated by President Donald Trump.
In a Twitter onslaught, Mr Trump called the country’s top prosecutor “weak”, a day after labelling him “beleaguered”.
Mr Trump has said he is unhappy with Mr Sessions for recusing himself from an FBI inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Mr Sessions said last week he intended to stay in his post.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” Mr Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
Moments earlier he questioned in another post why Mr Sessions was not looking into a report that officials in Ukraine had sought to influence last year’s US presidential election in favour of Mr Trump’s Democratic rival.
Anthony Scaramucci, the president’s new communications director, fanned speculation on Tuesday that the attorney general’s days could be numbered.
“We’ll come to a resolution soon,” he said when asked by reporters about the tensions between the Republican president and top prosecutor.
A conservative radio host put it to Mr Scaramucci that it was pretty clear Mr Trump wants Mr Sessions gone.
“If there’s this level of tension in the relationship that’s public, you’re probably right,” Mr Scaramucci said.
Mr Sessions was in the West Wing on Monday, but did not meet the president, according to deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The attorney general has recently asked White House aides if he can see Mr Trump to patch things up, reports AP news agency.
But Mr Scaramucci said on Tuesday: “My guess is the president doesn’t want to do that.”
Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter
Like some sort of medieval torture device, the political pain applied to Attorney General Jeff Sessions is steadily increasing – and Donald Trump is behind it all, turning the screws.
After months of hints in the media that he wasn’t happy with his attorney general, the president said last week that he wished he had never appointed his close campaign confidant. He then tweeted that the man was “beleaguered” and finally called him out by name as “very weak” in a latest round of tweets.
Mr Trump is apparently unhappy that his attorney general allowed the Russia investigation to morph into the ever-expanding independent counsel probe. And with each new revelation of the investigation’s growing reach, the president has reacted more aggressively.
Last week’s Bloomberg story that Robert Mueller and his team of veteran prosecutors are looking into the president’s business dealings have been followed by this week’s presidential Twitter tirades.
The campaign to undermine the attorney general could come at a high price, however. Reports circulate of an administration constantly looking over its shoulder. If the president can turn on Mr Sessions, the thinking goes, no-one is safe.
Mr Sessions, known for his hardline anti-immigration stance, was one of then-candidate Mr Trump’s earliest supporters in Washington.
But in March he recused himself from the Russia inquiry after failing during his confirmation hearing to disclose a meeting with the Kremlin’s envoy.
The most powerful Republican on Capitol Hill, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, has made clear he would have no problem if Mr Sessions is dismissed.
Mr Ryan told reporters on Tuesday: “He [President Trump] determines who is hired and fired in the executive branch – that’s his prerogative.”
But Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham defended Mr Sessions.
“President Trump’s tweet today suggesting Attorney General Sessions pursue prosecution of a former political rival is highly inappropriate,” tweeted Mr Graham.
Some suspect Mr Trump’s ultimate target is Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is leading the Russia investigation.
Representative Adam Schiff tweeted on Tuesday that Mr Trump “wants to force Sessions to resign so he can appoint someone to curb Mueller probe”.
Mr Schiff is ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, one of several congressional panels investigating whether Trump election campaign officials colluded with Moscow.
Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer told the chamber: “It’s clear that President Trump is trying to bully his own attorney general out of office.”
It was reported on Monday that the president is considering former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani or Texas Senator Ted Cruz for the job.
But Mr Giuliani told CNN on Monday that Mr Sessions had “made the right decision under the rules of the justice department” in recusing himself from the inquiry.
If Mr Trump were to fire Mr Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would be next in line to take over the job on an acting basis.
However, Mr Trump has been critical of Mr Rosenstein for his handling of the Russia inquiry.
During the election campaign, Mr Trump suggested the Democratic candidate would be in jail if he were elected.
Chants of “lock her up” were standard at his rallies as he stoked voter mistrust over Mrs Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
But it was Mr Trump who dropped the issue once he was elected.
In an interview with the New York Times, he said: “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t.
“She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.”
Mr Trump’s climb-down prompted his most loyal media ally, Breitbart.com, to accuse him of a “broken promise” in a splash headline.
Original post: BBC News – Worldhappy wheels