Sessions: ‘I Have Not Been Improperly Influenced’ By Trump On DOJ Probes

Alex Brandon/AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions denied that he had been influenced by President Trump’s pressure campaign to launch Justice Department investigations into Democrats.

“I have not been improperly influenced and would not be properly influenced,” Sessions said at Tuesday’s House Judiciary hearing, while acknowledging that Trump is “bold and direct about what he says.”

The denial came in a line of questioning by House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), after Conyers pointed to Trump’s tweets calling for Justice Department probes into Democrats and slamming Sessions.

“I would say that that the Department of Justice can never be used to retaliate against political opponents. That would be wrong,” Sessions said, when asked if it was appropriate for a country’s leader to use the criminal justice system to retaliate against political opponents.

Monday evening, the Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) that senior Justice Department prosecutors would “evaluate” whether to open investigations into various Hillary Clinton-related matters, after Goodlatte requested a new special counsel investigation.

Conyers on Tuesday asked Sessions whether he would recuse himself from such a Clinton-related investigation, given his work for the Trump campaign.

I cannot answer that yes or no, because under the policies of Department of Justice, to announce recusal of any investigation would reveal the existence of that investigation,” Sessions said.