In a 50 minute interview with the New York Times, Wednesday, President Trump made interesting revelations including saying that he would never have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he knew Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.
The interview follows the collapse of the Republican health care bill and efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare and the standing speculations surrounding Donald Trump Jr. meeting with a Russian lawyer.
Trump pointedly complained that Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russian investigations was the reason a special counsel had to be appointed. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said.
The president also accused FBI Director James Comey, of trying to use compromising materials to keep his job. Trump also criticized the acting F.B.I. Director who has been filling in for Comey since he got fired, before switching to Special Counsel Robert Mueller who is currently overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.
Trump said Mueller was running an office with many conflicts of interests and it would be best if the investigators concentrated on Russia and not stretch afar off. He also hinted that he could order the Justice Department to order Mueller but didn’t say outrightly, expressing deep regret over an investigation that has taken quite a political toll since he assumed office.
When asked if Mueller would be crossing a red line if the investigation looked at his family’s finances, Trump responded; “I would say yes. I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”
“I don’t think we’re under investigation,” he said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Trump also spoke about what was being referred to as the “second meeting” with Russian President Vladmir Putin during a dinner of world leaders in Germany this month, Trump said they spoke for about 15 minutes, mostly about “pleasantries” but that they discussed adoption. In 2012, President Putin banned American adoptions of Russian children after the United States enacted sanctions on Russians accused of human rights abuses.
From the interview, it was obvious that the Russia investigation remained a sore point. The president’s annoyance with Sessions most importantly was still fresh. Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump as a presidential candidate, but has been more distant from the president lately.
“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” he added. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.”