President Donald Trump told the New York Times on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General if he had known the man was going to recuse himself from leading the Russia meddling investigation.
According to Trump, Sessions’ actions in this matter were “very unfair to the president.”
After admitting that he himself had met with Russia’s ambassador, Sessions thought it was best to stay out of the investigation all together.
Trump also said that Sessions gave “some bad answers” during his Senate confirmation hearing.
A Trump supporter from the start, Sessions served as the President’s senior adviser on politics, national security and policy. Had he not recused himself, Sessions would have headed the justice department’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election. Congress is also conducting their own probe.
His recusal ultimately led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the investigation, and in the Times article, it’s clear that the President feels let down by Sessions.
“A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case… Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else,” stated Trump, noting that Sessions had given him “zero” notice of the recusal. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president.”
Trump recalled how, at his Senate confirmation hearing in January, Sessions denied meeting any Russians. He later revealed that he had met Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers… He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t,” said Trump, suggesting that the justice department’s Russia investigation was full of conflicts of interest, not least that Mueller had wanted to replace James Comey, who Trump had fired as FBI director.
“There were many other conflicts that I haven’t said, but I will at some point,” Trump added.
During a hearing in June, Sessions’ credibility was still called into question after Comey stated in a closed session with senators that there was a “possible third interaction” between Sessions and Russian officials in 2016 aside from the two that led the Attorney General to recuse himself from the investigation.
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