President Donald Trump expressed his desire on Wednesday that he had picked someone other than Jeff Sessions as attorney general in light of the AG’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
Trump quoted comments made by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., that Sessions should have informed the president if he intended to recuse.
Trump tweeted, “Rep.Trey Gowdy, ‘I don’t think so, I think what the President is doing is expressing frustration that Attorney General Sessions should have shared these reasons for recusal before he took the job, not afterward.”
He continued quoting Gowdy, “If I were the President and I picked someone to be the country’s chief law enforcement officer, and they told me later, ‘oh by the way I’m not going to be able to participate in the most important case in the office,’ I would be frustrated too.”
“That’s how I read that – Senator Sessions, why didn’t you tell me before I picked you. There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!'” Trump added at the end of the Gowdy quote, “And I wish I did!”
….There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!” And I wish I did!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
Gowdy’s comment came in response to a question on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday regarding a New York Times report that Trump asked Sessions to retain control of the Russia investigation in March 2017, which the attorney general refused to do.
According to The Times story, “The confrontation, which has not been previously reported, is being investigated by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as are the president’s public and private attacks on Mr. Sessions and efforts to get him to resign. Mr. Trump dwelled on the recusal for months, according to confidants and current and former administration officials who described his behavior toward the attorney general.”
“The special counsel’s interest demonstrates Mr. Sessions’s overlooked role as a key witness in the investigation into whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct the inquiry itself,” The Times added, noting another avenue of inquiry by Mueller is the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
“This Morning” host Norah O’Donnell asked Gowdy if Trump’s urging of Sessions not to recuse himself constituted obstruction of justice.
"I think what the president is doing is expressing frustration that Attorney General Sessions should have shared these reasons for recusal before he took the job. Not afterward." — @TGowdySC pic.twitter.com/6E5Nvotcix
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 30, 2018
“I don’t think so,” responded Gowdy, who is a former federal prosecutor. He then continued in the words Trump quoted.
Liberal legal scholar Alan Dershowitz agreed with Gowdy’s assessment regarding Sessions as AG, contending that Trump deserves to have an attorney general in place who could oversee the Russia inquiry.
“The president was entirely correct,” Dershowitz told Fox News responding to Trump’s tweets. “I think that Sessions should have advised him that if the investigation moves toward Russia he would have to recuse.”
— America's Newsroom (@AmericaNewsroom) May 30, 2018
“The president would then have said, ‘Thank you, Mr. Sessions, you’re a great man, but I want somebody in the office of attorney general who can be in charge of any investigation.’ Also, the minute he recused himself, he should have offered his resignation,” Dershowitz added.
The lawyer observed that Sessions put Trump in an “untenable situation” by bowing out of the “most important investigation being conducted.”
“The president is entitled to loyalty from his attorney general, the way Robert Kennedy gave loyalty to John Kennedy…and the way Obama’s attorney general gave loyalty to his president.”
Trump has called the impartiality of Mueller’s investigation into question multiple times, indicating the special counsel’s team is in actuality conducting a partisan “witch hunt” aimed at him.
The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt, will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls. There was no Collusion, except by the Democrats!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2018
On Tuesday, he tweeted, “The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt, will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls. There was no Collusion, except by the Democrats!”
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