Citing Justice Department policy not to confirm or discuss details of investigations, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to say Wednesday whether he has recused himself from the federal probe into President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
“The best answer for me, having given it some thought, is to say I should not announce that,” Sessions told Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who asked the attorney general whether he was recused at an Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
Sessions assured Leahy that he had not violated his recusal obligations. Later in the hearing, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) asked Sessions if he would recuse himself from the Cohen probe if he discovered any connection between it and the Russian investigation or anything else related to the 2016 election.
“Yes,” Sessions said.
Cohen has been under a months-long federal grand jury investigation, prosecutors in Manhattan revealed in court filings having to do with the legal dispute over a raid on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room earlier this month. Sessions is recused from overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, but it has been reported that Sessions has not recused himself from the Cohen investigation, aside from specific questions he may step back from, according to Bloomberg.
His recusal from the Russia investigation has been a point of tension in Sessions’ relationship with Trump.
Leahy also asked Sessions if he would resign if Trump improperly fired Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who’s overseeing Mueller’s probe. The Washington Post reported that Sessions floated the possibility that he might quit if Rosenstein was fired in a phone call with White House counsel Don McGahn.
“Senator Leahy, that calls for a speculative answer, your question calls for speculation. I am not able to do that,” Sessions said.
Update: This story has been updated to include Attorney General Sessions’ response to a question from Sen. Coons.
- Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
- Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
- Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism