Attorney General Jeff Sessions will recuse himself from election probes
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, amid increasing scrutiny over his contact with the Russian ambassador, will recuse himself from any probes or investigations into the 2016 presidential election.
The announcement comes after the Washington Post reported that Sessions twice met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a fact he did not disclose during his Senate confirmation hearing.
At his hearing, Sessions was asked what he would do if he learned of any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign, and said, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
“During the course of the last several weeks, I have met with the relevant senior career Department officials to discuss whether I should recuse myself from any matters arising from the campaigns for the President of the United States,” said Sessions in a written statement. “Having concluded those meetings today, I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.”
Sessions was adamant that he had no contact with any “Russian operatives,” and that the decision to recuse himself was made on the recommendation of his staff.
“This announcement should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation or suggestive of the scope of any such investigation,” Sessions added in his statement.
Sessions’ decision came not long after President Donald Trump on Thursday expressed his support for Sessions and said he should not recuse himself from the investigation. Sessions was a key adviser for Trump’s campaign, and one of his earliest and most vocal supporters.
Touring the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, the newest American aircraft carrier, in Newport News, Va., Trump said that he “wasn’t aware” that Sessions had spoken to the Russian ambassador, but that he believed the attorney general had been truthful during his Senate confirmation hearing.
Asked whether Sessions should recuse himself, the president said, “I don’t think so.”