Wednesday on CNN’s “Situation Roomr,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said President Donald Trump’s criticisms of Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be “part of a continuing pattern to obstruct justice” in Special Counsel Robert Muller’s Russia probe.
Partial transcript as follows:
BLITZER: What do you make of this public humiliation of his attorney general?
JEFFRIES: Well, first of all, President Trump clearly doesn’t understand the role of the attorney general. He is the people’s attorney, not the president’s personal attorney. So this is all part of the dysfunction we’ve seen in the Trump White House. Sessions is fighting with Trump. Trump is fighting with Bannon. Bannon is fighting with Kushner. Kushner is fighting with Kelly. He’s fighting with Scaramucci. Do you know who is losing? The American people.
BLITZER: He’s fighting back. He says it is the appropriate process and the inspector general, he could come up with conclusions and recommend prosecution if he feels that’s appropriate. That’s the normal way things are done.
JEFFRIES: At the end of the day, here’s what is really disgraceful. Donald Trump continues to refuse to release his taxes to the American people. This is disgraceful. He fired the director of the FBI in the middle of an investigation into his campaign. That is disgraceful. He refuses to do anything about the continuing Russian attacks on our democracy in advance of the mid-term elections. That’s disgraceful. When Donald Trump tweets things like did he this morning, it is all designed to be a distraction.
BLITZER: But can he really do his job? The president was angry at him when he recused himself as far as the Russia probe is concerned.
JEFFRIES: It would be difficult. But I think Senator Grassley, the chairperson, has previously gone on record to say that if Sessions is forced out, a lot of things we have to do and he has no intention of holding a hearing to confirm a new attorney general. So Donald Trump may be trapped.
BLITZER: I want to put up on the screen some of the criticisms You can see some of the words he has used, Idiot, beleaguered, very weak, very disappointed with him, he did a terrible thing, and now disgraceful, all caps with an exclamation point. Yet Sessions continues on the job. Some are suggesting that the president has done that. He wants him out so he can name someone else who would be more supportive.
JEFFRIES: This may be part of a continuing pattern to obstruct justice and to shape the Mueller investigation in a manner that could go to Trump’s benefit. That could be problematic. What I also find problematic is that Donald Trump is attacking his own attorney general, one of his best friends, closest allies, on the campaign trail, his earliest endorser from the United States Senate. He’s attacked our allies in this country. He attacked Great Britain, attacked Canada, attacked France, attacked Germany, attacked Mexico attacked Australia, but he can’t say a single negative word about Vladimir Putin and that fundamentally is the problem. And this back and forth with Jeff Sessions illustrates the dramatic double standard that he has.
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