President Donald Trump told Hill.TV of his disappointment with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” Trump told Hill.TV This was the most serious criticism that the president has made public of Sessions. Ever since March 2017, the president has criticized Sessions for deciding to recuse himself from the Department of Justice investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In the Tuesday interview, Trump that is not the only reason for his frustration with the nation’s top law officer. “I’m not happy at the border, I’m not happy with numerous things, not just this,” he said.
“I’m so sad over Jeff Sessions because he came to me. He was the first senator that endorsed me. And he wanted to be attorney general, and I didn’t see it,” Trump said. “And then he went through the nominating process and he did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused, and people that worked with him for, you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him, but he was giving very confusing answers. Answers that should have been easily answered. And that was a rough time for him.”
Sessions recused himself under pressure from congressional Democrats and after some Republicans said he should not take part in overseeing the Russian investigation at Justice. During his confirmation hearings, he failed to mention two meetings with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.
When he announced his recusal, Sessions said that he had consulted with DOJ officials regarding two meetings he had had with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Sessions had failed to mention those meetings during confirmation hearings in the Senate, after which Democrats and some Republicans pressured him to recuse himself. Earlier that year, the FBI sent an email to one of Sessions’ aides, which was made public in December. That FBI indicated that Sessions did not need to reveal his contacts with foreign officials that were made while he was in the Senate. “I recused myself not because of any asserted wrongdoing on my part during the campaign,” Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee in April. “But because a Department of Justice regulation, 28 CFR 45.2, required it.”
Trump said on Tuesday that the nomination process may have influenced Sessions’ conduct at DOJ. “He gets in and probably because of the experience that he had going through the nominating when somebody asked him the first question about Hillary Clinton or something he said ‘I recuse myself, I recuse myself,’" Trump said. “And now it turned out he didn’t have to recuse himself. Actually, the FBI reported shortly thereafter any reason for him to recuse himself. And it’s very sad what happened.”
Speculation that Trump could decide to fire Sessions is growing. However, Trump would not say whether he will do so. “We’ll see what happens. A lot of people have asked me to do that. And I guess I study history, and I say I just want to leave things alone, but it was very unfair what he did.” Referring to Sessions’ decision to recuse himself, he said, “And my worst enemies, I mean, people that, you know, are on the other side of me in a lot of ways, including politically, have said that was a very unfair thing he did.” He went on to say, "We’ll see how it goes with Jeff. I’m very disappointed in Jeff. Very disappointed."