Sessions says will recuse himself from Russia probe

2017-03-02 18:39
(Alex Brandon, AP)

(Alex Brandon, AP)

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Washington - US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Thursday he will recuse himself "whenever it's appropriate" from Justice Department probes into alleged ties between Donald Trump's campaign and the Russian government, after coming under fire himself for contacts with Moscow.

Sessions met the Russia's ambassador to Washington twice last year, the White House confirmed, while he was serving as both a senator and a top foreign policy adviser to Trump's campaign.

The White House insisted, however, Sessions did nothing wrong and it labelled the report an attack by partisan Democrats.

"I have said whenever it's appropriate, I will recuse myself. There's no doubt about that," said Sessions.

Interference in election

Democrats have called for Sessions to recuse himself from investigations into Russia's alleged meddling in the US elections and for Congress to name an independent special investigator to oversee a broad probe.

US intelligence says Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign to tip it in Trump's favour against Democrat Hillary Clinton, who suffered a shock defeat.

Sessions repeated his denial of any wrongdoing in a television interview.

"I have not met any Russians at any time to discuss any political campaign," he said, "and those remarks are unbelievable to me and are false. And I don't have anything else to say about that."

The Washington Post reported late on Wednesday that Sessions - formerly a senator who advised Trump's campaign on foreign policy and other issues - met Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in July and September, just as accusations of Russian interference in the election were mounting.

Russia contacts

Sessions, however, told his confirmation hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 10 that he had had no contact with the Russians.

"I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn't have  - did not have communications with the Russians and I'm unable to comment on it," he said then.

Sessions was confirmed as attorney general on February 8 and sworn in a day later, moving in place to oversee Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation probes into the alleged Russia contacts.

Read more on:    fbi  |  jeff sessions  |  donald trump  |  us

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