President Donald Trump’s censure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among others related to an ongoing federal probe into Russian election interference, intensified after an FBI raid of personal attorney Michael Cohen’s home and office on Monday.
In comments preceding his reaction to reports of another deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria, Trump again rebuked Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation that has since seen the appointment of Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller.
“The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself,” the president said.
He criticized his attorney general for not announcing the decision prior to accepting the nomination.
“He certainly should have let us know if he was going to recuse himself and we would have used a, put a different attorney general in,” Trump said.
“He made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country,” the president said of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, shortly before saying he would have chosen another person for the role if he knew Sessions would recuse himself https://t.co/p7WvUxOdkX pic.twitter.com/JaQcyOmIEY
— POLITICO (@politico) April 10, 2018
In a July interview with the New York Times, he made a similarly provocative acknowledgement about his decision to nominate Sessions.
At that time, Trump complained that Sessions’ decision to recuse himself was “very unfair to the president.”
He added that if he had known that would have been the outcome, he would have selected another candidate to head the Department of Justice.
In his comments Monday, Trump went on to reiterate his belief that Sessions made “a very terrible mistake for the country.”
As for Sessions’ future in an administration marked by high turnover among senior staff, Trump remained coy.
“You’ll figure that out,” he said in concluding his remarks on the attorney general.
Trump similarly dodged questions regarding whether he intends to fire Mueller in light of the Cohen raid, though he cited “many people” who have advised him to start the politically problematic process.
A number of prominent Republicans, however, have described a decision to fire Mueller as inexcusable, including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who said it would be the “beginning of the end” of Trump’s presidency.
Multiple lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed support for enhanced legal protection allowing the special counsel to complete his investigation.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said Monday in response to his decision on Mueller’s future.
In the same set of remarks, he called the raid on his attorney’s office and home “an attack on our country, in a true sense” and “an attack on what we all stand for.”
Though the specifics of the search warrant obtained by federal investigators were not immediately available, Cohen has been in the news consistently since asserting that he paid an adult film star $130,000 of his own money to keep her allegations of a Trump affair quiet in the final days of the 2016 presidential election.
The longtime personal Trump attorney claimed last year to be “the guy who protects the president and the family” and “who would take a bullet for the president.”
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