Former Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday night that he has "never seen a president talk to the attorney general" the way President Donald Trump talks to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
"I could not have taken as much as he has taken," Holder said on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," referencing Trump's frequent demeaning of Sessions.
"By taking what he has taken, he not only weakens himself as attorney general, it has an effect on the institution," Holder said. "At some point you have to say to the President, 'No.' "
Trump has repeatedly criticized Sessions as attorney general -- most notably for Sessions' move to recuse himself from overseeing any investigations into Trump's 2016 campaign, which includes the Justice Department's Russia probe.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether there were any ties to Trump campaign associates. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion.
Since Sessions recused himself, the investigation is being overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Holder, who served as attorney general under President Barack Obama, said he thought Sessions' decision to recuse himself was "the appropriate thing to do."
"I think he clearly did the right thing," Holder said.
He also noted that he didn't see his job as attorney general as "protecting the president."
"I didn't have to do anything to protect Barack Obama. This President clearly thinks there are things he needs to be protected from, and he wants his attorney general to do it, which is inappropriate," he told CNN's Chris Cuomo.