Tuesday morning on Fox & Friends, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that President Donald Trump is “frustrated and disappointed” by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the ongoing investigation into whether Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia — and that the president’s “frustration certainly hasn’t gone away, and I don’t think it will.”
Fox co-hosts Ainsley Earhardt and Ed Henry read several of Trump’s tweets from early Tuesday morning where he criticized Sessions’s “VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes” and failure to investigate Hillary Clinton’s alleged collusion with Ukraine. They also referenced a tweet Trump posted on Monday in which the president called his attorney general “beleaguered.”
When asked by Henry whether the president wants Sessions out, Sanders responded:
Look, I know that he is certainly frustrated and disappointed in the attorney general for recusing himself, but as we’ve said, I think that’s a decision that if the president wants to make, he certainly will. And, he’s continuing to move forward and focus on other things, but that frustration certainly hasn’t gone away, and I don’t think it will.
So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2017
Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign - "quietly working to boost Clinton." So where is the investigation A.G. @seanhannity— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that “President Trump and his advisers are privately discussing the possibility of replacing” Sessions, and that some of Trump’s associates view this action as “potentially being part of a strategy to” end special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
Vox’s Andrew Prokop explains that Trump’s anger at Sessions could seem surprising, given that “Sessions has long seemed to be Trumpism’s biggest champion and truest believer,” and indeed, he was an early political supporter of Trump on the campaign trail. But it’s precisely Sessions’s involvement in the campaign and subsequent recusal from Mueller’s investigation that has made it impossible for Sessions to do what Trump wants. Prokop writes:
But it makes a whole lot more sense when you keep one thing in mind: A new attorney general would not be recused from overseeing the Russia investigation — and therefore might be able to put a lid on it.
Fox co-host Steve Doocy asked Sanders about the potential recusal of new candidates — like rumored candidates Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) or former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani — who also worked on the campaign and might have the same conflicts of interest as Jeff Sessions.
Sanders said, “I’m not an attorney. I’m not going to get into the legalities of it. What I can say is that every member of the campaign as well as the president have been very clear that there was no inappropriate action and certainly no collusion of any kind. I think that anybody that came on from the campaign shouldn’t have any conflict given that fact.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was rumored to be considered as a potential replacement for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The article should have stated that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was rumored to be considered as a potential replacement.