Trump, lamenting Jeff Sessions' Russia recusal, says he has 'great respect' for Eric Holder because he 'protected' Obama

  • In an interview published Thursday, President Donald Trump said he had “great respect” for Eric Holder, who Trump said “totally protected” President Barack Obama while attorney general.
  • Trump made the comment to The New York Times, also saying it was “too bad” that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the Russia investigation.

President Donald Trump told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday that Eric Holder “totally protected” President Barack Obama while serving as attorney general.

Trump added that he had “great respect for that,” lamenting that it was “too bad” his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself earlier this year from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

“I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him,” Trump said, adding: “When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president. And I have great respect for that, I’ll be honest.”

Trump for months has both publicly and privately stewed over Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation, which is now being overseen by Robert Mueller after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named him special counsel following Sessions’ recusal. Trump has suggested that he would have never hired Sessions for the job had he known that the former Alabama senator would later recuse himself from the investigation into Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign’s possible involvement.

Holder has been on the receiving end of criticism from Trump in the past. He has been an outspoken critic of some of the president’s actions in recent months.

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