Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he would recuse himself from any investigations involving Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Since revelations hit on March 1 that Sessions had failed to disclose two pre-election meetings with Russia’s ambassador to Washington during his Senate confirmation, speculations about his interactions with Russia have continued to spiral.
As Sessions addressed the country on Thursday, his inconsistent statements left the American citizens with even more questions and concerns.
“I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” said Sessions. “And the idea that I was part of a—quote—‘continuing exchange of information’ during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government is totally false.”
Only a few hours before Sessions’ press conference, both President Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer lent their support, claiming that there was no reason for Sessions to recuse himself.
In his statement, Sessions admitted to having had meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and two senior staffers; in the press conference it was suggested that as many as three staffers may have been involved.
When asked if he and the ambassador discussed the presidential campaign, Sessions claimed that he could not recall but that “most of these ambassadors are pretty gossipy.” Sessions later acknowledged that Kislyak may have sought the meeting because of his affiliation with Trump and his previous support for his campaign.
"I did share with White House counsel, and my staff has, that I intended to recuse myself this afternoon,” said Sessions in a confusing statement. “But I feel like—because they didn't—they don't know the rules, the ethics rules, most people don't and—but when you evaluate the rules, I feel like that I am—I should not be involved investigating a campaign I had a role in."
Democrats are now demanding that Sessions resign, claiming that he lied to Congress and has been engaging in untrustworthy behavior and alliances. Only minutes after Sessions spoke, the New York Times reported on another meeting between the Russian ambassador and Trump transition aides Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn.
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