President Donald Trump admitted he regrets choosing Jeff Sessions as his attorney general, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
“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 told The Times.
It was a stunning admission about Sessions, who had been one of Trump’s strongest supporters during the 2016 election, and who often appeared with Trump on the campaign trail. Trump bristled at Sessions’ recusal, which he blames for the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Russia investigation.
Mueller was appointed to oversee the expanding inquiry after James Comey, the FBI director Trump fired in May, revealed that Trump had asked him to drop the FBI’s investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The parallel inquiry into Russia’s meddling in the US election and possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign has taken a life of its own since Mueller was appointed, embroiling much of Trump’s inner circle and leading to multiple headlines that have been unflattering to the president and his family.
Trump has called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt.” He has also taken aim at Mueller and his team of investigators, accusing them of potential conflicts of interest. The president said Mueller’s investigators could cross a “red line” if they look into his family’s finances beyond the scope of Russian meddling, The Times reported.
Though Mueller was appointed by, and reports to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Trump has previously floated the possibility that he could order the Justice Department to remove Mueller from the investigation.