President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday that he wished he had picked someone other than Jeff Sessions for attorney general, stoking anew the long-running awkwardness between the two men.
Trump’s tweets come hours after The New York Times reported that the president’s public and private criticisms of Sessions are now under the scope of the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The report details a March 2017 meeting in Mar-a-Lago between the two at which Trump reportedly asked Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the FBI’s investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Sessions reportedly refused.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted comments made Wednesday by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) that criticized Sessions for not warning the president that he might need to recuse himself from the probe. Gowdy rejected the idea that Trump’s March 2017 request amounted to obstruction of justice.
Trump added his own comment that he wished he had not picked Sessions in the first place.
“Rep.Trey Gowdy, ‘I don’t think so, I think what the President is doing is expressing frustration that Attorney General Sessions should have shared these reasons for recusal before he took the job, not afterward. If I were the President and I picked someone to be the country’s….” Trump wrote, quoting Gowdy’s comments to CBS early Wednesday. “….chief law enforcement officer, and they told me later, ‘oh by the way I’m not going to be able to participate in the most important case in the office, I would be frustrated too…and that’s how I read that – Senator Sessions, why didn’t you tell me before I picked you….There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!'”
“And I wish I did!” Trump added.
Sessions recused himself from the investigation last year amid revelations that he met twice with the Russian ambassador in 2016, despite telling senators at his confirmation hearing that he had no contacts with Russians during the campaign. Sessions, an adviser to Trump’s campaign, has denied any wrongdoing.
Trump’s tweet is perhaps his most direct rebuke of Sessions in a yearlong spat that has seen the president repeatedly berate his Cabinet member.
None of it has led to Sessions’ ouster, though, which, if it happened, could prove highly controversial, like the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Sessions at one point last spring offered to resign, drafting a letter that was later rejected by Trump.
The two have continued to appear together at events, including a March trip to New Hampshire during which Trump announced his plan to address the opioid crisis.
By: Mel Leonor, Politico