In an interview with the New York Times released Wednesday evening—with remarks described as “insane” and “unbelievable”—President Donald Trump openly admits he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions, a loyal campaign surrogate, to be his attorney general if he’d known Sessions would ultimately recuse himself on matters related to Russia and alleged election interference. The embattled U.S. president also had a message for the special prosecutor now conducting the probe, warning Robert Mueller III to steer clear of Trump family financial dealings.
“Sessions should have never recused himself,” Trump told the Times, “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.”
Such a recusal, continued Trump, “Frankly I think is very unfair to the president. 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.”
Also in the interview, Trump took what many construed as a direct threat against the work of Special Prosecutor Mueller, now conducting an independent probe into last year’s election, including possible collusion between meddling foreign agents and members of Trump’s campaign staff. As the Associated Press notes, Trump “appeared to threaten Mueller, suggesting he had damaging information on the former FBI director.”
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