Sessions maintains ‘I did the right thing’ on Russia investigation

Sessions maintains ‘I did the right thing’ on Russia investigation
© UPI Photo

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBudowsky: Senate must protect Mueller from Barr, President Trump Feinstein grappling with vote on AG nominee Barr Central American women fleeing domestic violence deserve refugee status MORE maintained in an interview published on Thursday that he did the right thing by recusing himself from the federal probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia's election meddling.

“I think I did the right thing. I don’t think the attorney general can ask everybody else in the department to follow the rules if the attorney general doesn’t follow them," Sessions told Time magazine's Molly Ball. 

Sessions recused himself from the probe last year, leading Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE to spearhead the investigation. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPentagon update to missile defense doctrine will explore space-base technologies, lasers to counter threats Giuliani: 'I never said there was no collusion' between the Trump campaign and Russia Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles MORE has publicly expressed frustration with Sessions and his decision to recuse himself from the probe, which Trump has referred to as a "hoax" and a "witch hunt."

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 told The New York Times last year. 

"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,'" he continued. "It's extremely unfair — and that's a mild word — to the president."

The president even reportedly directed White House counsel Don McGahn to stop Sessions from recusing himself.

“He does get frustrated,” Sessions told Ball. “He’s trying to run this country, and he’s got to spend his time dealing with certain issues.”

This is not the first time Sessions has defended his decision to take a step back from the probe. 

The attorney general told the Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo last month that he did the only thing he could do in removing himself from the investigation. 

“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,” he said. 

“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 continued.

Since that interview, Sessions has fired Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI, in a move that pleased Trump. McCabe claims his firing was an effort to "discredit" him as a witness in Mueller's investigation.