Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday said he would recuse himself from investigations involving the Trump campaign amid a firestorm over his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 election, but stood firm on the answers he gave during his Senate confirmation hearing about his past communications.
Sessions released a statement and held a press conference in which he said he would recuse himself from any future investigations "of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States." Following is a transcript of the video.
My staff recommended recusal. They said since I had involvement with the campaign, I should not be involved in any campaign investigation. I have studied the rules and considered their comments and evaluation. I believe those recommendations are right and just. Therefore I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the Trump campaign. The exact language of that recusal is in the press release we will give to you. I said this, "I have now decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.
I went on to say, “This announcement should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation or suggestive of the scope of any such investigation.” Because we in the Department of Justice resist confirming or denying the very existence of investigation.
I was taken aback a little bit about this brand new information, this allegation that surrogates and I have been, I had been called a surrogate for Donald Trump, had been meeting continuously with Russian officials. And that's what struck me very hard and that's what I focused my answer on. In retrospect, I should have slowed down and said “But I did meet one Russian official a couple of times”, that would be the ambassador. Thank you all. Take care.
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