Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, suggested Sunday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not need to recuse himself from investigating Russia’s role in the election, at least at this point.
“I don’t think we’re there yet,” Sanders told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.”
She clarified a few minutes later: “I wasn’t saying that he shouldn’t recuse himself or that he should. My point is I don’t think we’re there yet. Let’s work through this process. You guys want to jump to the very end of the line. That’s not how this works. Typically, you go through a congressional oversight review. We’re doing that. Let’s not go to the very end of the extreme. Let’s let this play out the way it should.”
Democrats are trying to pressure Sessions, an adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign and one of his first prominent backers, to recuse himself from any investigation into Russia’s attempts to meddle in the presidential election because of his ties to the campaign.
Though the White House has pushed back on the reports, news outlets have reported that the FBI found evidence that Trump campaign aides were in contact with the Russian government before the election.
Those allegations have prompted critics to raise the question of whether Trump’s campaign was aware of or colluded with cyberattacks on Democratic Party officials before the election, which intelligence officials say were carried out by Russians. The Trump campaign has denied any such knowledge or collusion.
Among others, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Stephanopoulos on Sunday that Sessions should recuse himself from the case, and new Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez made a similar call during an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, said Saturday that a special prosecutor, rather than the attorney general, should handle the issue.