President Trump publicly bad-mouthed his Attorney General to the New York Times Wednesday, saying that had he known he was going to recuse himself that the president would have chosen a different person.
Trump appeared angry as he openly discussed the decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigations into Russian meddling in the U.S. election, and alleged collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.
“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” he told the New York Times.
“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” he continued.
“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.’ It’s extremely unfair," he concluded," and that’s a mild word — to the president.”
The outburst appeared to corroborate a report in June that the president was still angry over Sessions' recusal.
Trump/Sessions rift is real. I'm told Sessions even offered to resign. Asked about that, his spokesperson declined to comment— jonkarl (@jonkarl)1496787905.0
That report from ABC News' Jon Karl added that Sessions only notified the president that he intended to recuse himself minutes before making the announcement. According to Karl, Trump was subsequently so angry that Sessions' offered to resign over the matter, as the president was constantly bringing up his actions.
Later when Karl asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer if Trump had confidence in the attorney general, he had a vague response.
Wow -- @PressSec cannot say whether the president has confidence in his Attorney General.— jonkarl (@jonkarl)1496775355.0
“I said I have not had a discussion with him on the question. I don’t, if I haven’t had a discussion with him about a subject, I tend not to speak about it," Spicer eventually answered when pressed.
Sessions recused himself in March from the investigations into Russian election interference and alleged collusion after it was discovered that he neglected to mention a meeting with a Russian ambassador during a confirmation hearing.
Sessions later said that he had not included the meeting because he attended under his office as a U.S. senator, and not as a member of the Trump transition team.