Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) responded to a report by The Washington Post that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had met with Russians officials and did not disclose those meetings during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
McCarthy said Sessions should clarify any meetings with Russian officials and that he should recuse himself if appropriate. However, he went on to say he didn’t see anything “very serious” regarding the matter given Sessions was acting in his role as a U.S. Senator.
Partial transcript as follows:
SCARBOROUGH: What’s your reaction to the Jeff Sessions news? Should the Attorney General recuse himself from any investigation moving forward on Russia?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, I think Sessions, the little clip I just saw listening to you, said he would recuse himself going forward. But I think I’m just now reading about this myself. I could see in his role of Senator, yes, meeting with different ambassadors. I just think he needs to clarify what these meetings were and when did he have them.
BRZEZINSKI: If you had a meeting with the Russian Ambassador and you were supporting a campaign that was swirling with questions about Russia, would you disclose that you had that meeting?
MCCARTHY: Well, in this role, we meet with Ambassadors all the time.
MCCARTHY: Yes, you just say, and at a convention, ambassadors all come to both conventions and they try to get as many members as come through and just say hi. I imagine that’s kind of a big room. You’re really not meeting with one per se.
MCCARTHY: I don’t see anything very serious in terms, I mean, by the standpoint that there’s an internal meeting here. But I just think he needs to clarify from what I read in the paper right now.
MARK HALPERIN, MSNBC SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He didn’t say he would recuse, he is recusing himself. He said if it comes appropriate to recuse, kind of in a (INAUDIBLE) way but, so let me ask you, do you think he should recuse himself from this investigation given this now disclosed meeting?
MCCARTHY: I think the trust of the American people; you recuse yourself in these situations, yes.
HALPERIN: He should, you would urge him to recuse himself?
MCCARTHY: I don’t have all the information in front of me. I don’t want to pre-judge. But I just think for any investigation going forward, you want to make sure everybody trusts the investigation–
MCCARTHY: It’s just easier–
HALPERIN: Does that require his recusal, Congressman?
MCCARTHY: I think it would be easier from that standpoint, yes.
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