In a rare interview with the New York Times, President Donald Trump repeatedly said he would not have nominated Jeff Sessions as Attorney General if he would have known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
The internet was shocked that a sitting President would kneecap his own Attorney General in the pages of the Times.
My takeaway from the NYT interview, in which he mows down Sessions–Sessions!–is that Putin remains the only ally Trump has never betrayed.
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) July 20, 2017
NEW: I called a Sessions confidante to ask their opinion on Trump's NYT interview. Here's the first thing they said: pic.twitter.com/ap6Qmt4oJy
— Elaina Plott (@elainaplott) July 20, 2017
How does Jeff Sessions continue as AG? Or is that the point — is Trump sending him a public message to quit?
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 19, 2017
Shorter Version:If Sessions had been able to cover up my crimes for me, I wouldn't have had to obstruct justice myself https://t.co/0RQDTR73Ml
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) July 20, 2017
If Trump says he wouldn't have picked Sessions if he'd known he would recuse himself on Russia, doesn't that sound like tampering w justice?
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) July 20, 2017
Why would Trump care whether Sessions recused himself or not unless he wanted him to quash the investigation? Unbelievable thing to admit.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) July 20, 2017
*Jeff Sessions comes home after a long day of mass incarceration and checks the news*
— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) July 20, 2017
— Jessica Taylor (@JessicaTaylor) July 19, 2017
Sessions was the first senator, and third member of Congress to endorse Trump. Can't imagine what he's thinking reading that interview.
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) July 20, 2017
Sessions is so committed to undermining civil rights and implementing mass deportation that he's willing to take the public humiliation
— Joe Sudbay (@JoeSudbay) July 19, 2017
I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump wanted to fire Sessions but can’t because of what he knows https://t.co/gh5JuL5Vl0
— Taegan Goddard (@politicalwire) July 19, 2017
If Sessions resigns, seems likely Trump would make potential replacements promise to can Mueller
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) July 20, 2017
In the NYT interview, Trump critiques:
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 19, 2017
NYT: Trump warned Mueller investigators would cross a red line if they delve into Trump finances unrelated to Russia https://t.co/1NrXsanNl5
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 19, 2017
Live look at Trump on Sessions. pic.twitter.com/vtyQ0ypxss
— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo) July 20, 2017
Why would be "unfair to the president" for Sessions to recuse himself unless Trump wanted to squash the inquiry?
— Julian Sanchez (@normative) July 20, 2017
So how does Sessions protect his credibility as AG, with the boss now saying he wouldn't have hired him in the first place?
— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) July 19, 2017
He said that Sessions should've prevented the Mueller investigation and that he wanted to appoint an AG that wouldn't recuse on Russia.
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) July 20, 2017
EVERYONE IN AMERICA NEEDS TO READ THIS IMMEDIATELY!
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) July 19, 2017
Trump's complaints about Sessions recusing himself stand out in this fascinating interview. => https://t.co/iujIrU68Wi
— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) July 19, 2017
By all appearances, Trump is annoyed because he thought Sessions would help cover up the Russia scandal & the recusal made that impossible https://t.co/zrSpsCAxf3
— Steve Benen (@stevebenen) July 19, 2017
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) July 19, 2017
UN-F*CKING-BELIEVABLE! Trump thinks he's the 'Supreme Leader'. Like Comey, he expected Sessions to take a loyalty pledge of fealty. #inners
— Bill Madden (@activist360) July 20, 2017
Newsy Trump interview with NYT — the kind of comments that would make an attorney general offer to resign (again) https://t.co/cuzTHnWG0E
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) July 19, 2017
Trump basically says he picked Sessions to block investigations. Close, but I think it counts as another confession. https://t.co/Y1bWOfCL3u
— Jamison Foser (@jamisonfoser) July 19, 2017
Trump sounding Nixonian over Russia probe. Everyone has failed him or is out to get him – Sessions, Comey, Mueller, Rosenstein. Stunning
— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) July 19, 2017
The most ominous part of the NYT interview with Trump is that he reserves the option to fire Bob Mueller https://t.co/ra6yhCMicD
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) July 20, 2017
Trump blasts Sessions, accuses Comey of blackmail, warns Mueller not to look into his finances, says he talked "adoption" with Putin. Wow. https://t.co/z9UXn8Qiiu
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 19, 2017
“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 said.
“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” Trump said, according to the Times. “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,” he added.