GOP Senator: ‘It Would Be Best’ For Sessions To Recuse Himself From Probe

Chairman Rob Portman of Ohio, listens during a hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to review billing and customer service practices in the cable and satellite television industry, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 23, 2016 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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March 2, 2017 11:08 a.m.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said Thursday that “it would be best” for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from a probe into any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia in the wake of revelations that Sessions met with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before the election.

“Jeff Sessions is a former colleague and a friend, but I think it would be best for him and for the country to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia probe,” Portman said in a statement.

Sessions denied during his confirmation hearing in January that he had “communications with Russians,” which he also denied in a written questionnaire.

On Thursday, however, Sessions’ spokeswoman confirmed that Sessions met twice with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the election.

In a statement released Tuesday, Sessions denied that he discussed “issues of the campaign” with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

“I have no idea what this allegation is about,” he said. “It is false.”

Portman was the first Senate Republican to call for Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation.

Two top House Republicans indicated on Thursday that Sessions should consider recusing himself. House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) tweeted that Sessions “should clarify his testimony and recuse himself.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said it would be “easier” for Sessions to recuse himself, but later said that he never called on Sessions to do so.

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