Trump blames Russia probe on Jeff Sessions

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

Amid a flurry of early-morning tweets touting sports teams that have visited the White House, President Trump on Tuesday again slammed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.

Trump went on to suggest that Sessions, who earlier served as a Trump campaign adviser, would have quashed the probe.

“The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself,” Trump tweeted. “I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined … and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!”

President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images, Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

In a striking relationship between a president and one of his executive branch officials, Trump has repeatedly and publicly attacked his own attorney general.

Last week, Trump expressed fresh regret for picking Sessions, who recused himself from the probe in March 2017 after it was revealed he’d had undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey last year.

Trump could fire Sessions or Rosenstein, but he would potentially face an uphill battle to confirm their replacements in the U.S. Senate.

According to the New York Times, Trump “berated” Sessions during a meeting at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in March 2017, and asked his attorney general to “retain control” of Mueller’s investigation, telling Sessions he should “reverse” his decision to recuse himself. Sessions did not.

Last July, Trump publicly accused Sessions of taking a “very weak position” on investigating his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton. Trump also described his attorney general as “beleaguered.”

Trump speaks with Sessions at an event in May 2017. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

In February, the president ripped Sessions for asking the inspector general to investigate allegations of misconduct in FBI Director James Comey’s handling of surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump wondered aloud why the inspector general’s investigation is “taking so long.”

“What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey,” the president tweeted. “Numerous delays. Hope Report is not being changed and made weaker! There are so many horrible things to tell, the public has the right to know. Transparency!”

Meanwhile, Mueller continues to investigate the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia and the president’s possible obstruction of justice.

And there appears to be growing concern among Trump’s legal team that the probe could produce charges against the president.

On Monday, Trump tweeted that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Monday sidestepped questions from reporters about Trump’s assertion, arguing that he wouldn’t need to because the president “hasn’t done anything wrong.” She then went on to repeat that refrain, uttering it a total of nine times over a 15-minute span.

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