Trump assails attorney general for recusing himself from Russia probe

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has said he would never have hired Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he had known the top law official would recuse himself from a probe into Russia’s alleged election meddling.

In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, the president also criticised Sessions’ confirmation testimony in the US senate, in which the latter denied “communications with the Russians” despite meeting Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice during the election campaign.

“Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers,” the president told the Times.

In response to the blistering criticism, Sessions said on Thursday that he intended to stay on in his job.

Asked at a press conference if he planned to resign, the top law officer replied: “I have the honour of serving as attorney general. It is something that goes beyond any thought I would have ever had for myself.”

“I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate,” he added.

Sessions recused himself from overseeing the Russian probe in March after the Washington Post revealed his meetings with Kislyak.

But Trump said Sessions had acted unfairly in taking the job in the first place if he had felt in any way compromised.

“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’,” said the president.

Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2017