Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday bowed to intense political pressure and rescued himself from any investigation related to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Jeff Sessions acted after it emerged that he had failed at his Senate confirmation hearing to disclose two pre-election meetings with Russia’s ambassador to Washington, at a time when Moscow was accused of interfering in the presidential race.
“I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States,” Sessions told reporters.
Sessions said the decision followed his promise to the Senate Judiciary Committee to avoid any semblance of a conflict of interest between his new role and previous position as a strong supporter of the Trump campaign. It was also the result of consultations with career Justice Department officials, he said.
The attorney general’s news conference was the culmination of a day of steadily rising political pressure over the issue. Democrats demanded he resign and accused him of lying to Congress. Many Republicans, feeling the political heat and growing increasingly concerned that the Russian drama was about to spin out of control, had been forced to call for Sessions to offload ultimate responsibility for an FBI probe into links between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Sessions went ahead and did just that, despite strong support from the White House.