Sessions on recusal from Russia investigation: 'I did the right thing'

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE on Sunday defended his choice to recuse himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I believe I did the right thing, the only thing I could do. I participated in this campaign, and as such, under the explicit regulations of the Department of Justice, no one can participate in an investigation of a campaign in which they were an active participant,” Sessions said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

“You can’t ask other members of the department to follow the law and follow the rules if the attorney general himself refuses to do so,” he added.

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Sessions recused himself last year from the Justice Department's investigation, the scope of which includes possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Following his recusal, Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE appointed special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE to lead the investigation.

President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE has repeatedly complained about Sessions's decision, calling it "very unfair," and saying he would have nominated someone else for attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself.

Trump reportedly directed White House counsel Don McGahn to stop Sessions from recusing himself.

Meanwhile, Trump and some Republicans have in recent weeks leveled accusations of political bias at the Justice Department, citing anti-Trump messages exchanged between FBI employees and other allegations outlined in a GOP-crafted memo. 

Fox News host Maria Bartiromo asked Sessions how he would “turn the ship around” at the Justice Department following claims of political bias.

Sessions didn’t directly address the specific allegations Bartiromo laid out, but said he’s setting a tone of professionalism in the department, and praised the work of new agency officials like FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“We’ve made other changes within this department that I think will put us on a path to fulfill my responsibility to the American people and that is to conduct our work professionally, honestly and without political bias,” Sessions said.