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Sessions: No plan to recuse from DOJ Trump probes

Sessions: No plan to recuse from DOJ Trump probes
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Sessions, top DOJ officials knew 'zero tolerance' would separate families, watchdog finds Sen. Hawley tramples the 2020 vote in his run to 2024 MORE (R-Ala.), President Trump's nominee for attorney general, does not plan to recuse himself from potential Justice Department investigations connected to Trump, Politico reported.

Sessions said in written responses to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he is "not aware of a basis to recuse myself" from investigations into incidents involving the president, such as Russian meddling in the presidential race or issues relating to conflicts of interest.

During his confirmation hearing, Sessions said he would recuse himself from any possible investigations related to former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFor Joe Biden, an experienced foreign policy team Millennials and the great reckoning on race Biden chooses Amanda Gorman as youngest known inaugural poet MORE if he was confirmed as attorney general.

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He said the politically charged comments he made about Clinton during the presidential campaign would give the appearance that he is not impartial in potential probes of the private email server she used while secretary of State.

"I do believe that that could place my objectivity in question," Sessions told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyImpeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Overnight Health Care: Biden unveils COVID-19 relief plan | Post-holiday surge hits new deadly records | Senate report faults 'broken' system for insulin price hikes MORE (R-Iowa). "I believe the proper thing for me to do would be for me to recuse myself."

But Sessions, a strong supporter of Trump during his presidential campaign, did not have the same opinion on issues involving the president.

“If merely being a supporter of the President’s during the campaign warranted recusal from involvement in any matter involving him, then most typical presidential appointees would be unable to conduct their duties,” Sessions told Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPompeo's flurry of foreign policy moves hampers Biden start Senior Democrat says Hawley, Cruz should step down from Judiciary Congress unveils .3 trillion government spending and virus relief package MORE (D-Vt.) in written responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The remark comes from Sessions's "questions for the record," which is part of the confirmation process.

Sessions said if a "specific matter arose where I believed my impartiality might reasonably be questioned, I would consult with Department ethics officials regarding the most appropriate way to proceed."

"As I made clear at my confirmation hearing, I will always be fair," he said, "and work within the law and the established procedures of the Department.”
 
Sessions also said he wouldn't recuse himself from voting to confirm other Cabinet nominees.

“To do otherwise would reduce the representation to which the State is constitutionally entitled,” Sessions said. “I would also note that other senators in my situation have proceeded in the same manner.”

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are expected to delay Tuesday's committee vote on Sessions.
 
A spokesman for Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBottom line Trump vetoes bipartisan driftnet fishing bill Dumping Abraham Lincoln? A word of advice to the 'cancel culture' MORE (D-Calif.) told The Associated Press that she would request Sessions's nomination be pushed to next week to "give the committee more time to conduct its due diligence." 
 
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a vote on Sessions's nomination Tuesday morning — but any lawmaker on the committee can request that a nomination be held for a week the first time it appears on the committee's agenda.