Donald Trump is really unhappy that Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation

Trump hints that he may be unhappy with the job Jeff Sessions is doing — or not doing — on one Trump-centric issue

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 20, 2017 7:52AM (EDT)

 (Getty/Win McNamee)
(Getty/Win McNamee)

President Donald Trump has confirmed that, as recent reports have indicated, he and his former close friend, Attorney General Jeff Sessionsm, have had a falling out over the Russia scandal.

"Look, Sessions gets the job [of attorney general]. Right after he gets the job, he recuses himself," Trump said in an interview with The New York Times.

When asked if he felt Sessions' self-recusal from the Russia investigation was a mistake, Trump told the Times: "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."

Trump also insisted that Sessions never warned him that he was going to recuse himself from the investigation.

So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. 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 can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you." It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president. So he recuses himself. I then end up with a second man, who’s a deputy.

Trump also described how Sessions then had to defer to a deputy attorney general "he hardly knew," referring to Rod Rosenstein.

As former acting attorney general Sally Yates put it on Twitter, Trump's attitude toward Sessions' recusal is further indication of the president's belief that the head of the Department of Justice should not defy the president even if legal propriety suggests (or demands) that he do so.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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