U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions did the right thing today: He has recused himself from any investigations involving the president of the United States and the Russian government.
As the late, great New York Yankees broadcaster Mel Allen would say: How ’bout that!
Sessions has come under withering attack over whether the Justice Department should be involved in these probes about whether the president and the Russian government had any improper or illegal contact during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The AG clearly was not the right man to lead such a probe. He’s a friend and close political ally of Donald J. Trump; he served on the president’s national security team during the campaign; he nominated him at the GOP convention this past summer.
No one could — or should — trust this AG to perform the kind of investigation that these questions about Trump require. He has backed out, to which I say: Good for you, Mr. Attorney General.
“I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the Trump campaign,” Sessions said at a hastily called press conference today.
Please note that he said he has “recused myself.” Is that good enough? I hope it is. I hope his recusal means that he won’t have any communication — not even in private — with the career prosecutors who might be working on this case … for the time being.
A better solution to this conflict of interest issue would be for the Justice Department to hand this matter over to an independent counsel, someone with zero ties to the administration. Congressional Democrats want that to happen; so, too, do a number of key congressional Republicans, which gives this notion some staying power.
It cannot be disputed with any degree of seriousness that the Russians sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. Trump has sought to disparage and discredit our intelligence community by saying it is wrong to draw that conclusion. His reaction has been disgraceful and disrespectful in the extreme.
The Kremlin denies any such wrongdoing. Show of hands: Who believes anything that comes out of the Kremlin? Me, neither.
The question many of us have is whether the Trump campaign team communicated with Russians before Trump took power, seeking to apply some leverage in lessening the sanctions that the Obama administration had placed on Russia over its interference with our electoral process.
I believe in my heart that such action could be defined as, let’s see, treasonous. We need to know what the top man — that would be Donald Trump — knew, when he knew it and whether he was a party to any of it.