U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said during a news conference today broadcast on all the major broadcast networks that he will recuse himself from any current or future investigation of Russian ties to the Donald Trump campaign for president. The presser came after reports began bubbling up last night that Sessions may have been either less than truthful or did not fully disclose a pre-election meeting with a Russian ambassador.
“I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the Trump campaign,” he said in a prepared statement during his news conference live from the Department of Justice. He said he made the decision on the recommendation of his DOJ staffers, but denied that he evaded questions in the hearings about whether he had contact with Russia during the Trump campaign, on which he served as a surrogate.
Sessions said during a brief Q&A portion that the was “taken aback” in the hearings over questions from Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) that Trump campaign affiliates had been meeting with Russian officials. “In retrospect, I should have slowed down and said, ‘But I did meet one Russian official a couple of times — that would be the ambassador.’ “
The details of the meeting with the Russian ambassador came as part of a report in the New York Times that broke Wednesday evening. Democrats have since been sounding the alarm and urging that Sessions should resign. The White House earlier in the day said Sessions did nothing wrong that would require him to recuse himself from such matters, calling it partisan politics.
President Trump during a trip to Virginia today said “I don’t think so” when asked whether his AG should recuse himself.
The FBI is currently investigating Russia’s involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee databases during the presidential campaign.
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