House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday morning that “it would be easier” for the investigation into ties between the Russian government and the campaign of President Donald Trump to continue if Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from it.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that Sessions met twice with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during last year’s presidential campaign, once in Washington and once during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Sessions did not disclose those meetings during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was asked about ties between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.
“I think, the trust of the American people, you recuse yourself in these situations,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I just think for any investigation going forward, you want to make sure everybody trusts the investigation … that there’s no doubt within the investigation.”
“Does that require his recusal, congressman?” panelist Mark Halperin followed up.
“I think it would be easier from that standpoint, yes,” McCarthy said.
In a brief exchange with NBC News Thursday morning, Sessions said he not had met with any Russian officials to discuss campaign activities and added that he would be open to recusing himself “whenever it’s appropriate.”
While the majority leader was clear that Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation into ties between Russia and the president’s campaign, the attorney general’s previously undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador were not necessarily inappropriate. Ambassadors from around the world attend the nominating conventions of both parties, McCarthy said, where they seek to meet as many members of Congress as they can.
“I don’t see anything very serious, I mean, by the standpoint there is an internal meeting here,” McCarthy said. “I just think he needs to clarify, from what I read in the paper right now.”