Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold 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 (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate 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 MORE to spearhead the investigation.
President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence 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."
"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.