House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from investigations of whether Russia interfered in the presidential 2016 election at the Justice Department and FBI.
To maintain “the trust of the American people, you recuse yourself in these situations,” McCarthy said during an appearance on MSNBC Thursday morning, noting it would simply “be easier” for the public to have confidence in the investigation if Sessions bowed out.
McCarthy’s comments follow revelations that Sessions met with the Russian ambassador during election season. Under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions had said that he had not met with any Russian officials.
“I don’t have all the information in front of me, I don’t want to prejudge, but I just think for any investigation going forward, you want to make sure everybody trusts the investigation,” McCarthy said. “I think it’d be easier from that standpoint” for Sessions to recuse himself.
According to Justice Department officials, Sessions, a top Trump supporter, met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice in 2016, including one September meeting in his office.
McCarthy is the first prominent Republican to call for Sessions to recuse himself. Some Democrats went further, calling on Sessions to resign and demanding an independent investigation.
“After lying under oath to Congress about his own communications with the Russians, the Attorney General must resign,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement released late Wednesday, adding that “Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country.”
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