President Trump said that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, according to his interview with The New York Times published Wednesday.
“Sessions gets the job. Right after he gets the job he recuses himself,” Trump said. Answering if the gesture was a mistake, he added: “Well, 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 called Sessions’ recusal “very unfair to the presidency” and reiterated had he known Sessions was planning to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, he would have picked another candidate.
After learning of the criticisms, Sessions said he plans to continue his job as U.S. Attorney General. “We love this job. We love this department, and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate,” he told reporters Thursday.
Because of his role in the Trump campaign and incorrectly responding to the question about meeting with Russian officials during the campaign, Sessions recused himself in March from any federal investigation into the campaign’s Russian ties. Sessions said he based his decision on his counsel with the Justice Department’s ethics officials. Sessions was the first sitting Republican senator to support Trump’s bid for president.
Despite repeat denials from the president and members of his campaign, details about the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian government continue to reveal themselves. Most recently, this month, The New York Times obtained emails from an account belonging to Donald Trump, Jr. last June in which he discussed a meeting to obtain incriminating documents and information from the Russian government.
The Russia investigation has stalled much of Trump’s legislative agenda, including high hopes from gun groups to expand concealed carry through federal law and lift restrictions on silencers. Both Trump and Sessions received positive remarks from gun rights organizations.