UPDATED W/ VIDEO of SESSIONS RESPONSE: President Trump criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions in an interview Wednesday for recusing himself from overseeing the Russia investigation, calling the move “very unfair to the president” and expressing regret that he nominated Mr. Sessions.
In an interview with The New York Times, the president said Mr. Sessions’ decision in March led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, a development that Mr. Trump said shouldn’t have happened.
“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,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Sessions recused himself from overseeing any investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia, saying it was improper in part because he helped on the campaign, and because he neglected to disclose at his Senate confirmation hearing that he had met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice during the campaign.
More than four months after Mr. Sessions’ recusal, Mr. Trump showed he is still frustrated by the decision of one of his earliest campaign supporters.
“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” Mr. Trump told the Times. “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.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.”
The president also blamed Mr. Sessions for his testimony during the Senate confirmation hearing for overlooking his meetings with Mr. Kislyak.
“Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers,” the president said. “He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t.”
Asked if Mr. Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if it expanded beyond Russia to look at Mr. Trump’s family’s finances, the president said, “I would say yes. I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”
He also said he doesn’t think he is being investigated for potential obstruction of justice for firing FBI Director James B. Comey.
“I don’t think we’re under investigation,” he said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.”
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