Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would recuse himself from investigations into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, citing a promise he made to the American people at the time.
Sessions asserted that he was already meeting with staff to discuss his role in investigations of the 2016 campaign, since he was a surrogate for the candidate.
“Having concluded those meetings today, 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,” he said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
Referring to Sen. Franken’s questioning during the Senate hearing, Sessions said that he believed his testimony was “honest and correct as I understood it at the time.”
“I appreciate that some have taken the view that this was a false comment, and that is not my intent,” he said. “That is not correct.”
Sessions denied that he discussed the Trump campaign with “Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries.”
“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,” he said, referring to the Senate inquiry.
Sessions would not confirm or deny the existence of investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
“This announcement should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation or suggestive of the scope of any such investigation,” he said.
Sessions recalled his meeting in September with the ambassador in his senate office as normal, but revealed that they discussed the news of the day.
“Most of these ambassadors are pretty gossipy,” he said, specifying that he did not recall any discussion of the 2016 election at the time.
Sessions said that he told the ambassador about a trip he took Russia as part of a church group, but that the ambassador was an “old style, Soviet-type.” He added that they also talked about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, noting that it “got to be a testy conversation.”