FBI Director William S. Sessions on Saturday dismissed a Justice Department report accusing him of ethical abuses as a "crassly calculated attack" by former Attorney General William P. Barr.

In a 90-minute meeting with reporters, Sessions began a public counteroffensive against the Justice Department report that found he had abused his office for petty financial gain.The report was the product of "an animus, and an anger and a disaffection by Mr. Barr for Mr. Sessions," the FBI director said. He said Barr "was in league with others who were determined to scuttle the director."

In a telephone interview afterward, Barr dismissed the comments from Sessions. "My assumption is that if he could rebut the facts, he wouldn't have to resort to personal attacks on me," Barr said.

Asked about Sessions at a photo opportunity in the Oval Office, President Clinton said only, "I don't want to talk about it."

Meanwhile, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., suggested it may be time for Sessions to step down.

"While he has a term of office, which is significantly unexpired, I think that there is a sufficient basis to remove him for cause, unless he can come out and exonerate himself," Specter said on CNN's "Newsmaker Saturday."

The 161-page Justice Department report issued Tuesday found, among other things, that Sessions misused his office by taking personal trips aboard FBI planes and billing the government nearly $10,000 for a fence around his home.

The findings, the report said, "raise issues that only the president can resolve" about whether Sessions can continue to serve as FBI director.

Sessions vowed to continue in office but acknowledged that "whether I survive as director of the FBI, the president will decide."

Sessions accused the Justice Department's ethics office of carelessness in the way it conducted the investigation that "was in itself a breach of professional responsibility."

But the director declined to say how the report reflected on the work of FBI agents who conducted much of the investigative work, saying he had seen only a copy of the final report, not the agents' interview notes.