In a brief press conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he would recuse himself from “any matters arising from the campaigns for President of the United States.”
“Let me be clear,” said the attorney general in his opening remarks. “I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign, and the idea that I was part of a ‘continuing exchange of information’ during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government is totally false.”
Sessions added that he did not refer to the two meetings between Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during his confirmation process, one of which had two of his chief staffers present. Yet, he asserted that his answer to Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) was honest and correct. Nevertheless, the attorney general will write a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee either today or tomorrow clarifying this aspect of his testimony.
He later said that if there were a specific matter where his impartiality would be questioned, he would consult the Department of Justice’s ethics officials on how to proceed. That meeting on what to do going forward was held today, as Congress sets in motion inquiries into possible contact between the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 cycle. In this meeting, which he said was set on Monday, he, along with senior officials, looked at the issues at stake and asked for their candid opinion. His staff recommended recusal, which he believed was the right course of action.