Is Recusal Necessary? Trump: "I Don't Think So." Then Sessions Recuses Himself.

Responding to growing pressure both from his colleagues and the public at large, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he is recusing himself from federal investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.  

Though he continued to deny the accusation that he lied under oath as “totally false,” Sessions said he spoke with his staff and they recommended recusal. “They said that, since I had involvement with the campaign, I should not be part of any campaign investigation,” Sessions said.

“This announcement should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation or suggestive of the scope of any such investigation,” he added.

While members of his staff may have recommended the move, it appears as though Sessions’ boss, President Donald Trump, thought the recusal was wholly unnecessary.

Asked by reporters on Thursday afternoon if Sessions should submit to the demands for recusal, Trump answered, “I don’t think so at all.” And repeated, “I don’t think so at all.”

Trump said he had “total confidence” in his Attorney General and when asked by another reporter if and when he was aware that Sessions had spoken to Russia’s ambassador, Trump replied, “I wasn’t aware at all.”


Watch Sessions’ short press conference:

There is a growing clamor from within and outside the halls of power on Thursday for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to face the consequences for apparently lying under oath about his contact with the Russian government, with demands ranging from recusing himself from any investigation into foreign election interference to resigning from his post.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) are among the dozens of lawmakers who have, thus far, called for his resignation.

Meanwhile, MoveOn held an impromptu protest outside the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday while leaders of pro-democracy groups are also adding their voice in the demand for accountability. At the same time, the hashtag #FireSessions continues to gain steam.

“The country’s highest officer for truth and justice has lied to the American people,” said Wendy Fields, executive director of the Democracy Initiative, a network of 58 civil rights, environmental, labor, and civic organizations. “He gave sworn testimony about his communications with Russia. He should follow [former national security advisor Gen. Michael] Flynn’s example and resign.”

During a Thursday press conference, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also called for Sessions’ resignation as well as an immediate investigation by the DOJ’s inspector general into whether he influenced the ongoing investigation into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Citing the damning reporting published by the Washington Post late Wednesday, Schumer said: “The information reported last night makes it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that Attorney General Sessions cannot possibly lead an investigation into Russian interference in our elections or come anywhere near it. With these revelations, he very well may become a subject of it.”