President Donald Trump spoke bluntly about his attorney general’s recusal from all-things-Russia, telling the national media that had he known then-Sen. Jeff Sessions was planning on relinquishing that investigative role, he never would’ve picked him for the Cabinet spot in the first place.
Sessions recused himself weeks ago. But Trump, in an interview this week, made clear the recusal is still a sore spot.
Trump’s remarks, in a 50-minute interview with The New York Times, represent an extraordinary rebuke from the President toward the nation’s top law enforcement official who happens to be one of his earliest political allies.
“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the President,” Trump said, referring to himself. “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’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the President.”
Before Trump had a lock on the Republican nomination last year, Sessions became the first sitting senator to back the real estate mogul’s presidential bid.
But several months into the job, Trump’s warm feelings for Sessions have clearly cooled. In the interview, Trump scolded Sessions for telling the Senate judiciary committee that he had not met with any Russians during the campaign. It was later revealed he had met with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, at least two times.
Sessions later amended his testimony.
“Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers,” the President said. “He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t.”
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment to CNN about the President’s remarks regarding Sessions. But a source familiar with his thinking said Sessions has no intention of stepping down as attorney general in the wake of Trump’s comments.