President Donald Trump harshly criticized his attorney general Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, indicating that he regretted the choice.
In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Trump vented about the probe and said that he would not have appointed Sessions – a top campaign supporter – if he had known Sessions would step aside.
“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,” Trump said.
The comments are a dramatic public scolding of one of Trump’s closest supporters in Congress during his presidential campaign, and the man currently holding a top Cabinet position. They also suggest that Trump had hoped Sessions could play a role in managing a probe that he has long called a “witch hunt” and suggested is a threat to the legitimacy of his presidency.
Trump called Sessions’ decision to recuse himself “unfair.”
“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” he added. “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.”
Sessions recused himself from the investigation, which will look into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russians, shortly after being confirmed to the post, citing his work on the Trump campaign.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Abby Phillip, Sari Horwitz