Tierney Sneed contributed reporting.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Thursday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions ought to recuse himself from any potential investigations based on contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia if evidence suggests a possible criminal prosecution, “because of [Sessions’] contacts with the campaign.”
“If there is a investigation at the FBI of Trump, Russia campaign activities, I want to know about it. I’m tired of reading about it in the paper,” Graham told reporters. “The FBI needs to let us know whether there is or there isn’t. If there’s not one, they need to come forward and say so. If there is one, we need to step aside and let it take its natural course.”
“If – if – there ever becomes enough evidence to suggest prosecution, or possible criminal prosecution of anybody based on the contacts, then somebody other than Attorney General Sessions should make that decision, because of his contacts with the campaign.”
Graham said, though, that the Washington Post’s revelations that Sessions had met with the Russian ambassador didn’t mean that he had mislead the Senate Judiciary Committee when he told them he had no contact during the campaign.
“When it comes to his contacts with the Russian ambassador, his testimony in the committee was all about campaign contacts,” Graham said. “If he met the Russian as senator, he needs to tell us what they talked about.”
“I’m not going to suggest that he misled the committee, because all of the questions were about campaign contacts. But now that we know that he did talk to the Russians twice, he needs to tell us what he talked about,” Graham said upon further prodding.
Graham also said he was going to insist to FBI Director James Comey, who has refused to say in the past whether the FBI was investigating Trump affiliates’ contacts with Russia, that Comey tell him whether such an investigation was underway.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing “people familiar with the matter,” that U.S. investigators were looking into Sessions’ contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign, when he was an adviser to Trump.
“I am tired of reading about innuendo. Somebody is leaking this crap,” Graham said. “And it’s putting people like me in a terrible spot. So I’m going to meet with the FBI director today, and I’m going to look him in the eye, and he’s going to tell me there’s an investigation or there’s not, and if he doesn’t tell me, he’s going to have a hard time.”